Song For Maura (Sunnyside Records)

Released July 2013

Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album 2014




My relationship with the Brazilians or ‘braziphilos’ (there are many in the world) has continued and bloomed throughout, and one of the musical groups that most impressed me has been the marvelous Trio Corrente from São Paulo.

Before having heard their recordings, it was their manager Jacques Figueras – a Brazilized French national – who called me a few years ago to share the stage with them. I answered that I already had bad experiences with unknown musicians, and that is why I preferred to travel with my own group. Then my regular pianist, the young and talented Alex Brown heard me while we spoke, and when we hung up the phone, told me: “Paquito, lately my best reference in contemporary Brazilian music is Trio Corrente…, they are absolutely tremendous!” — as if reproaching me.

So I called Figueras back, and the results have been a series of international concerts, and the present CD, as my best homage to Brazil and at the same time, a love song to the memory of the beautiful Maura, my Mother.

Paquito D’Rivera

Track Listing:

1. Chorinho Pra Você (Severino Araujo) 4:08

2. Song For Maura (Paquito D’Rivera) 6:22

(Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy Nominee for Best Improvised Jazz Solo 2014)

3. Di Menor (Guinga / Celso Viáfora) 4:09

4. Sonoroso (K-Ximbinho) 6:04

5. Cebola No Frevo (Chico Pinheiro / Edú Ribeiro) 4:00

6. For Leny (Daniel Frieberg) 3:50

7. Murmurando (Fon-Fon / Mario Rossi) 4:51

8. Ceu E Mar (Johnny Alf) 4:53

9. Paquito (Fabio Torres) 3:58

10. 1 X 0 (Pixinguinha) 2:58

11. Tem Dò (Vinícius de Moraes / Baden Powell) 4:22

12. Recife Blues (Claudio Roditi) 3:51

13. Saidera (Fabio Torres) 4:13


Paquito D’Rivera: clarinet, alto saxophone

Fabio Torres: piano

Paulo Paulelli: contrabass

Edu Ribeiro: drums 

Recorded October 2-4, 2012, at Estudio Salaviva-Espaço Cachuera!, Sao Paulo, Brasil

Produced by Jacques Figueras and Brenda Feliciano

Arrangements by Fabio Torres and Paquito D’Rivera (2), Paulo Paulelli (11), Chico Pinheiro/Edu Ribeiro (5)


Just when it is believed that Paquito D’Rivera is a fine alto saxophonist who also plays clarinet, he goes and makes an album almost completely on clarinet—a Brasilian one at that; in homage to a country and its people most beloved to the Cuban-born, New York-based genius. Perhaps the magic moment had arrived—never too early and never too late. And as it was all a matter of sharing love, Mr. D’Rivera put it all out there, playing one of his favourite songs and naming the album after one of his favourite women of all time: his mother. The album, is, of course, Song for Maura, which like a magnificent edifice, is built on 13 classic charts—some written for the date—one of which is a tribute to another great woman, the Brasilian chanteuse, Leny Andrade and the other a right royal tribute to the King of choro, Pixinguinha and that is the maestro’s legendary choro, “1 x 0,” which was christened by Pixinguinha in the Portuguese, “Um a zero” written for Brasil’s other great passion and export: football.

Paquito D’Rivera might actually want to be known as a fine clarinet player who also plays alto saxophone. His 2001 release on Pimienta Records, The Clarinetist, a recording he made solely on clarinet, was nominated for a Grammy in the Latin Jazz category. He plays a singular burnished burgundy-coloured instrument which boasts a classic woody resonating sound, and this matches his singular voice which is warm, with moist notes rushing out of the bell of his instrument like a herd of excited impala, leaping into the air as if intoxicated by it. Mr. D’Rivera’s lines begin simply enough, but then turn into wonderful filigreed baroque characters pirouetting like figures in a circling one another, then coming together, melody and harmony locked in passionate embrace. On this album, Song for Maura the added element of Brasilian rhythms, recalls some of his finest performances in that idiom, especially those that he played with Dizzy Gillespie in the United Nations Orchestra. In fact he made it well known that one of his abiding passions is Brasil—from the Carnival, with its dancers and samba bands, as well its folkloric and MPB to post-MPB popular music. And he has played every form of that kind of music.

Mr. D’Rivera loves explosive introductions. On this recording he sets the blistering pace with his version of “Chorinho pra Você”. Fortunately his ensemble—Trio Corrente, comprising pianist Fabio Torres, bassist Paulo Paulelli and percussion colourist, Edú Ribeiro—is all-Brasilian, has been playing together for a few years now and takes up his gauntlet with ease; in fact it is the trio who start things off. Mr. Ribeiro actually is one of the stars of this recording with his awe-inspiring brush-work form end to end. Of course there are only winners here and elsewhere. “Song For Maura,” which Paquito D’Rivera has played on numerous occasions—including one with Airto Moreira and Ignacio Berroa and the rest of the United Nations Orchestra—gets a complete makeover. The elegiac nature of the composition makes for a truly emotional rendition especially when Mr. D’Rivera hits the upper register of his clarinet. Pianist Fabio Torres develops an exquisite solo here, constructing his fine excursion as if he were sculpting an exquisite figurine; of Ms. Maura, no doubt. The excitement that follows knows no bounds as Paquito D’Rivera and Trio Corrente pursue a road less travelled. It might be customary for musicians paying tribute to Brasil by picking familiar charts, but not Paquito D’Rivera. Interestingly the clarinetist and his trio lead off with a typically complex composition “Di Menor” by the great Brasilian Guinga and Celso Viáfora, which of course suits Mr. D’Rivera perfectly as it comprises dramatic twists and turns in melody and challenging rhythmic variations. The group sparkles on choro music from the pens of Severino Araujo and Pixinguinha, as well as on ethereally beautiful compositions by Johnny Alf and Claudio Roditi and of course “Sonoroso” from the pen of Ximbinho, the title of which seems to suit the sonority of Mr. D’Rivera’s wonderful woodwind instrument. And there is plenty more on this recording to cheer wildly about. Which is why the album has been nominated for a Grammy Award, which is not, the only reason why this record is so desirable; it is all in the exquisite music.

Raul da Gama (Latin Jazz Network)