Sunday, December 06, 2009
Paquito D'Rivera concert review
The band is simply tremendous. I've always enjoyed D'Rivera's fiery mix of musical styles going back to when I first heard him in the 70s with Irakere. At the end of the first half of the show, singer guitarist Luis Mario Ochoa came out to join the band and was integrated into the band very nicely. Ochoa is a Cuban who has lived in Toronto since 1990. He is a music instructor at Humber College. During the intermission, I told my friend that as part of his improvised solos, D'Rivera was quoting snippets of songs like Eleanor Rigby, Honeysuckle Rose and Clifford Brown's Parisian Thoroughfare. My friend looked at me like I was from Mars. He asked me how I was able to hear those snippets. A lot of it is experience. I have a musical encyclopedia in my head and I know that many great jazz musicians quote songs in that manner. At the end of intermission, D'Rivera comes on stage for a discussion with Koerner Hall GM Mervon Mehta and proceeds to explain exactly what I was talking about. He wrote a song called A Night In Englewood in tribute to the late Dizzy Gillespie. Of course it's based on A Night In Tunisia and D'Rivera shows how the song was written. He jokingly calls it stealing and performs the song in the second half of the show. What would Dizzy had thought of the song? He would have given Paquito a great big kiss.
The music in the second half of the show was as good as the first half. And for the encore, D'Rivera brings Cuban born pianist Hilario Duran out of the audience. He lives in Toronto and was just attending the show. It was a wonderful night of jazz by one of the all time great musicians with an equally great band. My friend enjoyed it too. He wisely trusts me when it comes to music. Koerner Hall is running a series of concerts of all types of music until the spring. I want to see country jazz violin virtuoso Mark O'Connor in February and the Cherryholmes family bluegrass band when they come in April. They should bring in some gospel acts too. I could advise them. Hint, hint.