Paquito started learning music at the age of 5 with his father Tito Rivera, a well-known classical saxophonist and conductor in Cuba.
D'Rivera grew up in Cuba, playing both saxophone and clarinet and performing with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba at a young age.
Upon his arrival in the United States, D'Rivera found great support for him and his family. Many notables who reached out to help Paquito were Dizzy Gillespie, David Amram, Mario Bauza and Bruce Lundvall, who gave him first solo recording date. D'Rivera quickly earned respect among American jazz musicians and was introduced to the jazz scene at some of the most prestigious clubs and concert halls in New York. He became something of a phenomenon after the release of his first two solo albums, Paquito Blowin (June 1981) and Mariel (July 1982).
Throughout his career in the United States, D'Rivera's albums have received reviews from critics and have hit the top of the jazz charts. His albums have shown a progression that demonstrates his extraordinary abilities in bebop, classical and Latin/Caribbean music. D'Rivera's expertise transcends musical genres as he is the only artist to ever have won Grammy Awards in both Classical and Latin Jazz categories.
D'Rivera also plays with "crossover" artists such as the Ying Quartet, Turtle Island String Quartet, cellist Mark Summer, pianist Alon Yavnai, and Yo-Yo Ma. He has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and played with the National Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, YOA Orchestra of the Americas, Costa Rican Symphony Orchestra, American Youth Philharmonic, and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.
D'Rivera is an Artist in Residence at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and artistic director of the Festival International de Jazz en el Tambo in Uruguay. He is also a member of the Alon Yavnai-Paquito D'Rivera Duet and the Jazz Chamber Trio.
SOPR500 | Professional Sopranino Saxophone, Lacquer