Artists like Paquito D’Rivera don’t come around very often, yet this virtuoso of the flute, clarinet, and sax forms an instant relationship with the listener. Relationships are based on trust, and one can trust D’Rivera to play his heart out and allow the music to flow over the confines of the composition into something spectacular.
While Paquito is absurdly talented, he is also very accessible. Perhaps that’s a part of his charm, as his music readily fits in at the snazziest high-end gatherings and the most down-home joints without losing any of its fire.
So when the Bele Bele Jazz Club series compiles a collection of virtually unknown recordings from Paquito D’Rivera, it requires attention. The eleven cuts found on The Lost Sessions are taken from a period between 1976 and 1978. While it’s quite a narrow period in time, it’s also an extremely diverse period for Paquito and the other performers on this disc.
The songs are unwilling to be confined into particular genres, giving this anthology an almost felonious feel. It seems that it doesn’t matter who Paquito plays with, as the tunes simply have a desire to jump out of the speakers and begin dancing around mischievously. And that’s just what happens as The Lost Sessions spins.
These songs beg for motion from the listener; most of them are simply impossible to remain still through. Regardless of how hard I tried, my left foot wouldn’t stop tapping to the contagious grooves of “Mi Pequeña Anna.” Paquito is joined by the Finland Jazz Combo for the first three tracks on the album, adding a taut backing collective to his sizzling Cuban jazz tendencies.
The remainder of the album was recorded in Cuba, firmly entrenching the tracks in an environment of flavour and spice. At the same time, Paquito’s sound is also drenched in all sorts of 70s style. The compositions drip with biting wit in some cases, packed with organs and different sorts of effects to plant the sounds in the psychedelic tone of the time.
“Canción a Palia” is a nasty bit of jazz business, sped ahead full blast with an addictive percussion rhythm. It’s Carlos Emilio Morales’ guitar that puts this one over the board, though.
Other tracks take a disco rhythm and infuse it with Cuban jazz, creating a sound worth several repeat listens. The sort but sweet “Pulgarcito en Guanabara” is an example of this. Pay attention to the sudden ending. You can't miss it!
The Lost Sessions from Paquito D’Rivera deserved to be found. With high-spirited ecstasy sprinkled throughout this recording, it’s a hard album to sit still through and an even harder album to listen to just once. Using Cuban jazz standards with sweltering percussion and special effects, Paquito’s compositions capture the sound of the 70s with unyielding glee and demonstrate his skills as a true giant of the woodwinds.