My Sax Life: A Memoir

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Northwestern University Press, Nov 17, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 372 pages
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Winner of 2005 National Medal of Arts
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.

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My sax life: a memoir

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D'Rivera, a highly respected and versatile saxophone and clarinet virtuoso, here presents an updated English version of his memoir, which originally appeared in Spanish in 1998. A native of Havana ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Paquito D'Rivera was born in 1948 in Havana, Cuba. His celebrated recordings include the Grammy-winning Historia del Soldado (2003), Brazilian Dreams (2003), Live at the Blue Note (2001), and Portraits of Cuba (1996). D'Rivera is celebrating his fiftieth year as a performer in 2004 with concerts throughout the world and culminating with a special celebration at Carnegie Hall in January 2005. He lives in North Bergen, New Jersey.

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