Paquito D'Rivera With Claudio Roditi | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paquito D'Rivera With Claudio Roditi 

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There's plenty of documentation for the influence of Afro-Cuban music on jazz. It turns out, though, that the pathway by which Cuban rhythms influenced jazz was a two-way street, and Paquito D'Rivera--like his former colleagues in the Cuban band Irakere--illustrates the point. D'Rivera's high-energy salsa transforms his jazz roots, and the result is a quite modern fusion of sound and temperament; at this point, eight years after his arrival in the U.S., his music has become distinctly American. Paquito is an undeniably (even frighteningly) proficient saxophonist, and employs a wizardly technique on the more difficult clarinet. But he seems incapable of playing at anything less than full throttle, and I often find myself wondering why he doesn't let the music breathe. (It's almost as if he'd never heard Miles Davis.) It is Claudio Roditi, the Brazilian-born trumpeter and longtime partner of D'Rivera's, who displays a more wholly integrated musicality; in fact, I can think of only a handful of modern trumpeters who combine brain and soul, technique and wisdom, in a way that matches Roditi's. (He's the conscience of the band.) For the week, Paquito left his regular rhythm section in New York--probably because he had such a good one waiting for him here. It includes Fareed Haque (guitar) and Howard Levy (piano and harmonica), both of whom have appeared on Paquito's recordings, and each of whom can generate his own fireworks. Tonight through Sunday, George's, 230 W. Kinzie; 644-2290.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Alberto Romeu.


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