(Posted September 20, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- At home playing the jazz of Dizzy Gillespie or the concertos of Stravinsky, Cuban-born saxophonist Paquito d'Rivera and his band will perform a concert at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

In keeping with the improvisational tenets of jazz, D'Rivera moves freely between many musical disciplines. He is equally gifted at playing the saxophone and clarinet and can apply both instruments to performing classical, jazz or pop music.

He came to prominence in his native Cuba as a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna and also played sax and clarinet in the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. D'Rivera came to the attention of American audiences in 1979 through the jazz-rock group Irakere. As the group's saxophonist, D'Rivera toured America and Europe.

He has received numerous Grammy Awards over a 30-year career, including Best Latin Jazz Album in 2007 for "Funk Tango" and Best Classical Recording in 2005 for "Riberas" with the Buenos Aires String Quartet. He also received a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 2004 for "Merengue," performed by cellist Yo Yo Ma. In all, he has received nine Grammy awards.

As with most solo jazz artists, D'Rivera tours with an exceptional band. Accompanying him at the Juniata concert are: Alex Brown, piano; Oscar Stagnaro, bass; Diego Urcola, trumpet; and Mark Walker, drums. D'Rivera also plays in several other jazz groups including the Chamber Jazz Ensemble, the Paquito D'Rivera Big Band and the quintet group coming to Juniata.

He has released more than 30 solo albums in jazz and Latin music. His most recent work is "Jazz-Clazz," which was nominated for a 2009 Grammy. Other recent recordings include "Tiempo Libre--Bach in Havana," "Funk Tango" and "Caribbean Jazz Project."

D'Rivera's musicianship and playing style has been celebrated by journalists across the country. Ben Ratliff, a critic for the New York Times, had this to say: "He is a complicated performer: a virtuoso, a scholar and a gold-plated ham in equal parts." He also is a tireless ambassador for jazz. In June 2009, he participated in the Jazz Studio at the White House hosted by Michelle Obama.

In addition to his performing duties, D'Rivera also has established himself as a formidable composer. His most recent work is "Conversations with Cachao," a concerto for bass and saxophone/clarinet. The composition is a tribute to Cachao, a legendary Cuban bass player.

D'Rivera received the National Medal for the Arts in 2005, presented by President George W. Bush, and received the Living Jazz Legend Award in 2007 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.