A Good Year for Paquito D’Rivera

President Bush Announces 2005 National Medal of Arts Recipients

Paquito D'Rivera Awarded National Medal of ArtsWashington, D.C. – President George W. Bush today announced the recipients of the 2005 National Medal of Arts. Ten medals will be presented by the President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an Oval Office ceremony at the White House on November 10. The National Endowment for the Arts notified the artists of their selection to receive a National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.

(White House photo by Eric Draper)

My Sax Life A Memoir by Paquito D’Rivera

My Sax LifeMeet the Author—Jazz Sensation Paquito D’Rivera

From Washington Post:

"One musician who embodies Nicholson’s theory of "globalization" is Paquito D’Rivera, a Cuban-born saxophone and clarinet virtuoso who plays classical music, jazz and Latin dance music with equal skill. A professional musician since the age of 6, D’Rivera has also written a novel, and in My Sax Life (Northwestern Univ., $29.95) he’s produced a breathless, sometimes vulgar romp through his life, both before and after his exile from Cuba.

A staunch opponent of Fidel Castro, D’Rivera has no patience for anyone who admires anything about Cuba under communism — and that includes Nelson Mandela and Gabriel García Márquez. He dramatically describes his 1980 escape, when he sought asylum in Spain and left his wife and son behind. (They were later reunited, but the marriage didn’t survive.) D’Rivera recites endless lists of sidemen and recording dates,
but he reveals little of his own musical approach, except to praise Brazilian music as "the most balanced formula of rhythm-melody-harmony in the world" and to mock Cuban trumpeters for "playing high-pitched notes that only dogs can hear."

Paquito’s autobiography “My Sax Life”is available from Northwestern University Press.