Latin Jazz Conversations: Paquito D’Rivera


Check out this interview with the great Paquito D’ RiveraPart 1 and Part 2 at  The Latin Jazz Corner.

Here’s a sample:

LJC: You guys put together Irakere with members of the Orquesta; how did the idea for Irakere come about?

PDR: It was Chucho, Emilio, Carlos, and Oscar Valdes, the singer/percussionist – they wanted to put a group together to travel. It was very simple! We didn’t know that we were going to have such an impact in jazz and Latin music around the world. We were just working to do something good. The first group was Jorge Varona on the trumpet and me playing the baritone and my curved soprano.

The first piece that we recorded was “Bacalao Con Pan,” and that was an instant success. We didn’t really expect it to be such a success. Oscar had never been a singer before; he had a very good voice, but he was never a singer. So Chucho encouraged him to sing, and it was a success.

LJC: I’ve heard that there was an effort to hide jazz in Cuban music through Irakere; was there that intention to make it a jazz group?

PDR: The idea was to hide the word jazz as much as possible, which is not an easy task, especially when all the players are jazz musicians. The idea was to hide it, like, don’t mention the word jazz here – don’t tell and don’t ask!   We discovered this before the American government – don’t tell, don’t ask!

LJC: Was there a lot of government intervention?

PDR: From some people. Some people in the government would say, “They are jazz players! They want to play the role like they’re not jazz players, but they are.” It was an accusation! For them, it was kind of like saying, “They are cocaine dealers!” Chucho denied it; he would say, “We are not playing jazz, we are playing contemporary Afro-Cuban music.”

H/T: Peter

Francisco Aguabella Benefit Tomorrow


If you’re in Southern California, don’t miss this:

Tuesday, March  9 8P-1A
A special benefit tribute to the legendary Franciso Aguabella

Featuring the Banda Bros & Friends

Friends Scheduled to Appear:
Sheila E
Poncho Sanchez
Alex Acuna
Justo Almario
Sal Cracchiolo
Danilo Lozano
Jose “Papo” Rodriguez
Charles Owens
John Clayton
Charlie Atwell
Nengue Hernandez
Oscar Brashear
Art Velasco
And many more

$ 20 Donation at the Door

Doors Open at 7P


For more information visit Steamers Jazz,  here.

Tribute Concert to Olga Diaz A Success

Well friends, it’s been exhausting, but you can add Producer to my many titles. It was an exhausting endeavor, but the tribute concert to my mother, Olga Diaz, which was held yesterday afternoon at the Roca Theater turned out a success. Those that made it, even with the rain, were treated to a three hour show with a plethora of talent and heard classical works by Lecuona, Piazzola, as well as popular boleros and ballads both instrumental and with vocals.  The list included Eugenia Armengol, Ramón Arronte, Renée Barrios, Conchita Betancourt, Yolanda del Castillo, Sonia Corp, Alejandro Cossío,  Mirta Fernández, Héctor Fernández, Jesús García, Chelo Lindner, Roberto Lozano, Alejandro Méndez, Gustavo Ponzoa, Arturo Ramos, Cristina Rebull, Vicky Roig, Pedro Román, & Baserva Soler.


Each artist selected works that my mother played in her long career. Thus we heard works by composers Rene Touzet, Mario Fernandez Porta, Mario Clavell, and so many others. It was a great show.


And above all, all of the funds went 100% to benefit the Regis House Charity, one of my mother’s favorite charities and one that provides much needed help to children and teenagers with substance abuse issues.

(From L-R — Eric Sanders, Marketing Director, Regis House, Michael Pancier, Executive Producer, and Roberto Lozano, Musical Director).

If you couldn’t make it, well you missed a great show. I hope to have some video in the next few weeks. You can still help the cause by sending your donations to Regis House in memory of my mother Olga Diaz.

The above images are (c) 2009 by Michele Sandberg and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved.

Tribute Concert for Olga Diaz to Benefit Regis House

This is crunch time folks. Tomorrow Saturday at 3:30pm, a concert to pay tribute to my mother, the great Cuban Pianist, Olga Diaz, to benefit Regis House. It’s a great cause and all proceeds go to the charity. In return you will experience an afternoon of the most amazing music from Cuba and the Americas. All you Belen grads need to be there, and you know who you are. It’s an amazing theater.

I’ve included a video montage of my mother playing a Danca by Cuban Composer Rene Touzet.


Cigar Mike on Radio Mambi at 9:30am to Promote May 30 Benefit Concert in Homage to Olga Diaz to Benefit Regis House


My mother Olga Diaz Pancier who left Cuba at age 21, spent over a half century entertaining the people of South Florida, and Latin America with her piano. Before she passed away last December 27, 2008, she had been scheduled to perform a benefit concert for Regis House in Miami, an excellent faith based organization helping children and families with substance abuse and mental health issues, this past February. Her last concert for Regis House in 2008 raised lots of money for the organization. Since my mother was not able to fulfill her 2009 Concert, myself and musical director Roberto Lozano decided to stage a Tribute Concert for my Mother starring a plethora of the finest Cuban Entertainers.The list of entertainers will each select their favorite works that they enjoyed hearing my mother perform during her career. It’s going to be fantastic and all of the proceeds benefit this fine charity.

You have an incredible line ups of pianists and singers. You’ll hear both the serious end of Cuban and Latin American Music and the popular end too that my mother enjoyed performing in the fifty years since she left her homeland.

I’ll be on Radio Mambi with Perez Roura at 9:30 with Father Lerena who founded the Organization and Eric Sanders, Regis House, Marketing Director.

The Roca theater is a state of art theater.  For all of our readers in the South Florida area,  this concert is a rare event where you’ll see some of the most amazing musical talent in our community on the same stage.   Hope to see many of you there on Saturday especially you Belen grads.