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RIP Paquito Hechavarría
Walfredo de los Reyes' Eulogy
A Special Article from Walfedo de Los Reyes, Sr.
In Memoriam: Paquito Hechavarría
This is a page of Paquito's life that I would like to share with all his friends and family. We date back to the early 50s, when Paco would show up at the Parisien in the Nacional Hotel in Habana and sit in with my band after concluding his work with La Orquesta Riverside.
This young talent at the time would blow me away. His immense talent and feel was amazing. He had the schooling of Pedro "Peruchín" Justiz, of course, sometimes referring to himself as the "White Peruchín". Paco was just that.
When we moved to the U.S. in the early 60s, Paco made his home in Miami, where he had great success recording with everyone there. He was the man - many CDs with his own group, and of course, the famous piano solo on Gloria Estefan's "Conga", that no one has come close to matching.
He left many good friends like Nelson Padrón, Tany Gil and more. He touched everyone's heart. His love for his children Frankie Felix, and Jennifer was unmatched, and they were always in his conversations, and how proud he was of them.
In the 80s, we did a project for Tany Gil that was called "WAL-PA-TA-CA" - this was Walfredo, Paquito, Tany, and Cachao...amazing group, which I will never forget.
Paco had a great love for the sport of judo, which he learned from Cuban drummer Daniel Pérez, an alumnus of Luis Guardia, 8th Dan who teaches in Miami. His goal was always to throw me down with an harai-goshi movement. P.S. He never did. Paco had a green belt.
This incredible talent has passed on, but to all who knew him he will always be in our hearts. Rest in peace, Paco, we will never forget you.
WALFREDO DE LOS REYES