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Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera will bring his quintet to Lafayette College’s Williams Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 18. A prior performer on the Williams Center stage, D’Rivera’s unique blending of Cuban and Caribbean music with straight-ahead New York jazz is a trademark perfected under the tutelage of the great Dizzy Gillespie.

Tickets are available through purchasing the Jazz Masters subscription series. Also featured in the series are New Orleans trumpet virtuoso Terence Blanchard and his Sextet on October 5, the legendary Dave Holland and his Quintet on February 4, and another Quintet led by brilliant trumpet player and expert band leader Roy Hargrove on March 22. The price of Jazz Masters is $50, a savings of $13 compared to the total cost of ordering the concerts separately. Single tickets for the D’Rivera performance also are available for $15. To order the series or individual concert, contact the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

D’Rivera has been a driving force in the burgeoning popularity of Latin-American jazz. Born in Havana, Cuba, he was a child prodigy who played the clarinet and saxophone, performing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra at a very early age. The bands he would later form introduced an explosive mixture of jazz, rock, and classical and traditional Cuban music that had never been heard before.

With his deep musical ancestry in the rich creative cauldron of Havana, D’Rivera brought rhythmic flair and exciting melodic impulse to the legendary Latin bands led by Gillespie, his mentor and guide to mainstream bop. The breakthrough triumph of his Irakere band at the 1978 Montreux and Newport Festivals and his 1981 defection to the United States secured D’Rivera’s identity in the world of American jazz. He was soon immersed in fruitful collaborations both with Latin musicians (Arturo Sandoval, Mario Bauza, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Claudio Roditti) and many American greats. His bands invariably provide exciting hybrid qualities drawn from the best of Cuban music and the latest directions in the New York scene.

“The common element in all of D’Rivera’s music is the integrity of an artist primed to take on the new millennium with fresh, exploratory ideas based on solid traditional attitudes and disciplines,” states the June, 1999 edition of Jazz Times. “the reedman weaves a seamless musical web from seemingly disparate stylistic materials and musical cultures.” Classical New Jersey notes in a 1997 review, “Whether playing Bach or post-bop, his mastery of the instruments and their expressive capabilities was unquestionable.”

With a discography encompassing well over 20 solo albums, D’Rivera has hit the top of the jazz charts. His appearances in classical venues include solo performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and numerous others. With the Cuban National Symphony, he premiered several works by the foremost contemporary Cuban composer Leo Brower. In 1991, D’Rivera received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Latin music. In 1997, he became the recipient of his second Grammy Award for the album Portraits of Cuba.

The D’Rivera Quintet includes trumpeter Diego Urcola, bassist Oscar Stegnaro, pianist Dario Eskanazy and drummer Mark Walker.

The 1999-2000 Performance Series at Lafayette College is sponsored, in part, by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the M

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