VAIL — Terrell Joseph sat on the terrace above the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Friday evening wearing a Cuban-inspired tan fedora. The hat was in honor of the Bravo! Vail musical theme of the evening with The Philadelphia Orchestra: Latin Jazz Night with Paquito D’Rivera. Joseph said he considered wearing a traditional Latin-style guayabera shirt, but refrained.
“We like Cuba, and we bought the tickets on a whim,” Joseph said.
He and his wife, Natalie Martin, were both enjoying an outdoor dinner on the clear and crisp early July evening. Both Martin and Joseph are local doctors, and the couple said they had a nice time listening to the orchestra’s rich sounds amid the soft evening and refined atmosphere.
As soon as he stepped on stage, it seemed as if Paquito D’Rivera’s warmth radiated from the front of the stage up through the entire crowd.
“Actually I don’t read music — this is just to impress you,” he said lightly, gesturing to his adjacent music stand after he was introduced. “But look behind me — this is The Philadelphia Orchestra.”
The entire performance was smooth and rhythmic, sliding between cascading serenades and lively riffs.
D’Rivera’s saxophone and clarinet vibratos were riding on the wings of sounds produced by The Philadelphia Orchestra conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, as well as the sliding melodies of Alex Brown on piano and the clarinet accompaniment of Ricardo Morales.
‘So much to experience’
Vail visitor Peter Lynch is here from Massachusetts and attended Friday night’s performance after receiving a ticket as a gift. The 22-year-old admitted he doesn’t know much about orchestra music, but said he was very impressed during his second visit to Bravo! Vail this season.
“I think the venue is great, and that this is a very cool thing to do,” he said as he sat on a railing under the expansive eves of the stage. “It’s pretty amazing that every night people are here, and that there is so much to experience.”
A Childhood dream
D’Rivera said on stage that when he was a child, he had always had it in the back of his mind that one day, he was going see The Philadelphia Orchestra play.
“What I didn’t have in my wildest dreams, was that I was going to have the opportunity to actually share the stage with the most wonderful orchestra in the world—The Philadelphia Orchestra,” he said.
Before his closing song, “To Brenda with Love,” D’Rivera said he drew inspiration from Johann Sebastian Bach, who he jokingly claimed must have been Brazilian, not German. Laughs and cheers from the audience led into a toe-tapping rendition composed by D’Rivera.
“Music is not just a note that you play,” said D’Rivera, projecting all the way to the amphitheater’s top lawn seats. “But how you play the notes.”
Yet it was The Philadelphia’s final rendition, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34,” where the heartstrings were resonate.
A slight rain began to fall during the lead segment, which led into a solo from a violin and another from a harp — both passionately expressed and tearfully evocative.
The human spirit sang through until the very end, as The Philadelphia Orchestra brought their brilliance home to Vail, yet again.