Paquito D'Rivera | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paquito D'Rivera 

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Anyone who's heard Paquito D'Rivera even once knows about his explosive virtuosity: on both clarinet and alto sax the Cuban emigre boasts consummate technique, infused with the jumpy, mercurial fervor that defines so much Cuban jazz. Folks who've heard him a few times know about his lively and endearing sense of humor--a trait that also marked his 1998 autobiography, My Sax Life, which finally appeared in an English translation last year. And people who've followed his work over the last decade or so know he's written a sizable and impressive body of classical compositions for chamber groups. D'Rivera is putting all these elements on display at three shows this week. Today he appears with the Chicago Chamber Musicians to perform his own work, Three Poems From the New World, on a program that also includes pieces by Samuel Barber, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Aaron Copland, and Silvestre Revueltas. Wednesday at Millennium Park he'll join the Grant Park Orchestra for a program that includes Artie Shaw's Concerto for Clarinet and a new work by Chicago composer Elbio Barilari. And Thursday at the same venue he opens this year's "Made in Chicago" series of jazz concerts by debuting his Chicago PanAmericana Orquesta, which stars local genre straddlers like guitarist Fareed Haque, harmonica player Howard Levy, trumpeter Tito Carillo, and trombonist Angel Melendez (along with trumpeter Jon Faddis, whose stewardship of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble makes him a part-time Chicagoan). In both design and repertoire the band purposely recalls Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra of the 80s, in which D'Rivera played a key role. See also Wednesday and Thursday. Sun 6/18, 3 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-742-1168. Free. All ages.

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