One Night in Englewood

There have been many times in my life when I had to stop for a minute and enjoy the moment, and reflect on everything that lead to the magic that was happening before me. Earlier, I was rushing my family out of our house so we would not be late to the performance, Right when I was going to back out of the driveway Malachi yelled "stop, stop! I got it! I know what I'm going to give him! Let me out,.. Let me out!" Malachi ran back in the house and ran out with a red ribbon. Once underway, I said, so... your giving him a ribbon?!?! "No Daddy"... "My sticks! I'm giving Mr. D'Rivera my sticks!.." "My music, my spirit are in my sticks!.. It's like giving him a part of me, it's perfect!" All I could do is look at his little face through the rear view mirror starring down at his drum sticks.

That night during the concert, Paquito spoke to the audience before each song, sharing stories, jokes, and his wonderful laughter. Prior to his closing number he spoke about how he wrote this one particular piece for his best friend Dizzy Gillespie, and spoke of some of the good times they shared. He went on to express some of the challenges they overcame together, the days leading to Dizzy's passing, and being with him that last night in the hospital. As the audience was captured by the tale of the two men; Paquito introduced the song, "ladies & Gentlemen... One night in Englewood,.."

As Paquito started to count the song off, Malachi ran over to me and said "did you hear that?.. They were best friends!" I was amazed by the composition, it was as compelling as the story that preceded it, and as warm and complex as their friendship.

Later, back stage, a voice filled the room, "where is Malachi?!" Followed by that familiar laughter. Paquito has a way of making the whole room feel comfortable, you very quickly forget about the 11 Grammies. As he spoke to Malachi I tried to make my way across the room, but a crowed had gathered. Looking over the shoulder of one of the photographers, I made it just in time to see Malachi present his drum sticks to Mr. D'Rivera. Battered, dented, almost splintered, rapped with that red ribbon. Paquito was almost brought to tears as Malachi spoke to him. I could not hear the words, but I can see the impact of the words on Paquitos face. For the remainder of the evening Mr. D'Rivera kept Malachi by his side, through every interview, and photo, stoping only to speak to him and advise him. Drumsticks in one hand, and Malachi in the other, It wasn't a legend speaking to a child that night, it was a grandfather; speaking about school, about music,,.. And I can only imagine, yes,.. about Mr. Gillespie.

I myself never had the opportunity to meet Mr. D'Rivera that night, but I will always know him through my child's eyes.