Last year was Paquito DRiveras 50th in the music business, and 2005 marks the 25th anniversary of his arrival in New York City. This disc acknowledges those anniversaries in a number of ways. It pays homage to both jazz and classical music, the way DRiveras career has, and it celebrates Latin American music. The Jazz Chamber Trio consists of DRivera on clarinet and alto saxophone, Mark Summer on cello, and Alon Yavnai on piano. DRivera is Cuban, Summer is American, and Yavnai Israeli, making this an international group representative of DRiveras adopted hometown.
The unusual instrumental composition of this trio makes for some impressive and fresh-sounding music. Just when I thought I had enough recordings of the jazz standard "Night in Tunisia," DRivera presents a version that swings with eloquence. Summers own "Kalimba" lets the cellist shine in a solo setting and suggests a bigger role for the cello in jazz. Yavnais "Five After" is infectious and displays all three players. Cesar Camargo Marianos "Crystal" is given a more intimate and successful treatment than on Yo Yo Mas recent CD, Obrigado Brazil [Sony Classical 089935], a disc on which DRivera played.
As one might expect from Chesky, the sound here is excellent. Each performer has his own place in the soundstage, and even subtle sounds, such as the fingering of the cello or the clarinet, are easily heard. The recording succeeds in placing the musicians in a physical space, which adds to the enjoyment of the music.
In recounting his childhood, DRivera says that he listened to swing and classical music and wasnt cognizant of changing genres but was only aware of great music. DRiveras disc reflects this: It isnt good jazz or good chamber music, but simply great music.
GO BACK TO: