Winner of 2005 National Medal of Arts [via]
Winner of 2005 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition
Since defecting from Cuba in 1980--and indeed long before that in his native land--Paquito D'Rivera has received glowing praise time and again. A best-selling artist with more than thirty solo albums to his credit, D'Rivera has performed at the White House and the Blue Note, and with orchestras, jazz ensembles, and chamber groups around the world.
My Sax Life is the English-language edition of D'Rivera's memoirs, published to acclaim in 1998. Propelled by jazz-fueled high spirits, D'Rivera's story soars and spins from memory to memory in a collage of his remarkable life. Beginning with his father-a classical saxophone virtuoso and educator-and his own fame as a child prodigy, D'Rivera riffs on everything from Che Guevera to musical training to the unique Cuban personality ("hyperbolic and excessive"). And that's just in the first few pages.
As a musician D'Rivera has few peers and his life experiences are as diverse as his work. He recalls his early nightclub appearances as a child, performing with clowns and exotic dancers, as well as his search for artistic freedom in communist Cuba and his hungry explorations of world music after his defection. Opinionated but always good-humored, My Sax Life is a fascinating statement on art and the artist's life.