Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back in NY!

Just saying hello, I miss all of you and I sure missed NY. I'm happy to be back though I am a bit sad to say good bye to the great times at the LJC.
So what's going on people!?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sorry for the delay...

It's been a few months since my last post.And for those who read it often, my apologies. Well since the summer is upon us thing have gotten so busy. The Litchfield Jazz Camp is about ready to start, and it's packed with students so i'm super excited! B'Smith's NYC restaurant is going well with the music performances as at this point, we have music 4 nights a week! (So Stop By!) The other big thing is i've decided to start working out and rebuilding my body the way it should be. I've been hitting the gym 5 days a week and feeling great. At this point i'm down about 35 lbs and run anywhere from 3-5 miles a day! So for anyone who thinks they can't do it, trust me..with dedication you can!
Well that's all for now, just a little note so all of you know I haven't forgot about you, and there will be much to write about!
Feel free to email me or follow me on facebook/twitter!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here is an Interview I did last summer! enjoy!

Lakeville Journal Feature | Jazz camp’s 525 musicians keep the beat
Shaw Israel Izikson | Lakeville Journal - July 22, 2010

KENT — The Litchfield Jazz Camp, held on the grounds of the Kent School, started its 14th session on July 11.
The camp, which is operated by The Litchfield Jazz Festival, offers courses for students from 13-years-old to adult in everything from performance and instruments to jazz history to improvisation, rhythm and music theory.
The camp began a decade and a half ago with only 32 students and a one-week program, according to Lindsey Turner, who is the marketing director for both the festival and the camp.
“This year we have 525 students enrolled,” Turner said. “We have students from all over the country as well as foreign students.”
Musician Don Braden, musical director at the camp, has played with jazz greats Wynton Marsalis, Roy Haynes, Betty Carter and Freddie Hubbard, is the musical director for the camp.
“Jazz is such a great thing to study,” Braden said. “It’s the kind of music that is really fun and expressive, yet has quite sophisticated emotional elements that are positive and fun.
“Also it has a spiritual aspect that involves comradery and teamwork. It all ends up being a great combination.”
Braden said the teaching staff combines rigor and a relaxed approach.
“We don’t live on military time, or break people down with tough love, that’s not our culture,” Braden said. “We all lead from the front. Our main thing is showing our students the way. The camp faculty is made up of professional players.”
Assistant Director Albert Rivera started out as a student at the camp when he was 15 years old.
“Originally I lived in New York City and every summer while I was growing up I came up to the camp,” Rivera said. “I think many of the students come from the city, and when they come up here to Kent they see a whole different lifestyle. They start to understand that life isn’t just about their neighborhood. They learn there is a whole other world out there.”
Rivera said another benefit of the camp is that students meet other musicians, and many of them form friendships and bonds.
“Sometimes students wonder if there are others out there like themselves,” Rivera said. “It comes as a shock to them when they see there are hundreds of other students just like them.”
Rivera said the camp welcomes all levels and ages.
“Students also get to see a world-class faculty and professional musicians perform,” he said. “Usually, it takes a trip to New York City and it costs an arm and a leg to see these guys play.”
Throughout the summer, the camp will present 30 free concerts in locations in town by jazz camp students and faculty.
“Jazz is an amazing thing,” Rivera said. “One of the biggest attractions about jazz is that it’s a musical art form that started right here in America. Some parts of jazz are in other kinds of music, including rap, pop and hip hop. I think it will come back to the forefront.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ken Ross - New World Feat. Magestik Legend, Jo'Leon Davenue

Some of you may know that I do not discriminate when it comes to good music. I may be a "Jazz" artist by trade, but music is my life.
I met Ken Ross (http://kenrossmusic.net) a few years ago while he was a student at the Litchfield Jazz Camp. His technique at guitar was tight, and he had a great attitude towards music. I've been keeping my eye on what he has been up to musically.

After finding his niche with school, he found himself in Chicago and started making hip hop music. Maintaining a jazz tradition, he is branching out and reaching a wider audience.
If he continues on his path and stays focused I would not be surprised if a much larger calling to fame becomes within his reach.
This video and song is from his first and most current self-released album "Zzzzz" You can download it for from on his website. Yeah...amazing right? I said free! http://kenrossmusic.net/music.html

With quality like this...why not tell your friends about it?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Litchfield Jazz Festival Announces the 2011 Lineup


2011 marks the 16th Anniversary of The Litchfield Jazz Festival. LJF continues the tradition of showcasing jazz legends and fostering up-and-coming talent as we've done since 1996. "Nothing beats the Litchfield Jazz Festival…an ongoing tradition for those in the know." -- JazzImprov.
Visit our Festival History page for a complete line-up history. 2011 Artist Profile Pages Coming Soon. As soon as they appear you can click the name or photo below to learn more about each artist.
Bookmark and ShareMainstage

Artist Profiles Coming Soon...

Friday, August 5th

Friends of the Festival Gala
The Clayton Brothers Quintet
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue -- Special 90 minute set  
After Party and Open Jam - Immediately Following Last Performance

Saturday, August 6th

Albert Rivera Organ Quintet
Champian Fulton Quartet
The Bronx Horns
Vijay Iyer Trio Ray
Charles Tribute with Davell Crawford
Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band*
After Party and Open Jam - Immediately Following Last Performance

Sunday, August 7th

Dena DeRose Trio
Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio
Matt Wilson Quartet plus Strings
Joe Lovano Nonet
Jimmy Heath Big Band*

Clinics & Artist Talks led by Artist-in-Residence Matt Wilson

Roy Haynes
Jimmy Heath
Joe Lovano
Dr. Lonnio Smith
Vijay Iyer
The Bronx Horns

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Inner Peace" Goes Into The Film World

When you write music, especially for a record you always wonder who will end up listening, how far will it go, and of course, how people will receive it. Luckily my first record was well received. The critics said great things and above all the fans enjoyed it. But now with the second record available, would it live up to the hype and surpass it, or just be another record released.

I put my heart and soul in everything that I do. That includes the music I write, and I do my best so that it comes across that way when it's recorded. Cause then again...you really never know who's listening.

A few weeks ago I was contact by Ben Crowe, a well respected, award winning film director based out of the U.K. He heard the title track of my latest record "Inner Peace" (Turnaround Records 2010) and wanted to use it for a scene for his upcoming film. I'm pleased and beyond words in telling all of you that it has come to fruition.

This is something I've always dreamed about happening and I feel this is only the beginning.  The films title is Verity's Summer and it's do out in a few months in a number of film festivals. I can't thank Ben and his producer Emma enough for wanting one of my compositions in the film.

See the thing about being positive and believing in yourself is that it has the power of opening doors that may not show itself until you do. Positive attracts positive. You yourself, generally are the only one holding yourself back. The biggest wall to climb, the excuses your mind can come up with, the countless reason why you shouldn't because that just might be easier. The moment you leave that mindset behind is the moment you begin to live.

A quote that I once read speaks volumes to me as I write to you. "It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not" -Author Unknown

So though I am truly excited for this opportunity, the thoughts and dreams I have for the future excited me just as much. I won't stop just to be the norm, instead I will continue to reach my dreams regardless of peoples ideas of what is possible and impossible.

What will be next for the life of Albert Rivera, his music and his life? I can only imagine, but for now, I'll have a smile, and give myself a pat on the back for what I consider.. a job well done.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some pictures for those eyes of yours

 Here are some pictures I have taken in the last year or so. Some were photoshoots and one of the shots are a performance shot from Small Jazz Club. Thank you Steve Sussman, RS Berkeley, Jason Goodman and Elizabeth Leitzell for the photos (list are bottom up)

Enjoy Everyone!
 Any photographers who would like to build their portfolio feel free to contact me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

If life's randomness was so random, would you have still ended up here?

I was recently asked if I felt that life was a a whole bunch of random events that you help create and push forward, or was it carved in stone to be lived out like chapters in a book. My first reaction was simple and to the point "I make my own life, and I decide where it goes" I said, though in the back of my head a little voice said "really?" Though the conversation was a pleasant one, that went in many directions, it left me thinking about my life in its entirety from my earliest childhood memory to this very moment as I write and share my ideas with all of you. So it got me thinking..what if it's both? Random and scripted all at once...

All I have is my life to really dissect and to look back on, so I'll tell you a few things about me. See, if you would have told me that I would be a professional musician, traveling and living this kind of life when I was a child I would have laughed, and then probably got mad at you. Growing up wasn't the easiest thing to do, there were always issues with my family, whether it was close relatives or long distance ones. But being the youngest of 8, I just assumed that's how it would always be. But as Kanye West once said in a song of his "That's Family Business" So I just learned how to accept and adapt.

My mother raised me on her own, and though it was strict as a typical Puerto Rican household would normally be, she always made me take my studies seriously. I was never able to "hang out" in the neighborhood,  but instead I was home from school early, doing my homework with little playtime. Funny thing is now, when I look back, that was such an amazing thing she did for me and I'm so thankful.

I'm not sure why my mother raised me the way she did, maybe she just wanted things to be better for me when I grew up, or maybe it was just random and it was just her idea of what being a mother is. You see, I attended a public school in the Bronx, and after finishing the 3rd grade new zoning rules went into affect and they forced me to transfer. I found myself to be kinda quiet at the time, so changing didn't really make a difference to me. In fact, it was just another thing to deal with. But what I didn't know was that it probably changed my life. Before I left the first school I took a few citywide exams, and the interesting thing was I did pretty good. Actually, it was a perfect score.

When I went to the new school and they look at those scores,  they decided to put me into a program for what they called "gifted" children. Kids that excelled in all aspects. Through what ever randomness this world had put in motion for me, it allowed me to get accepted a special program for Junior High School. That's where music came in, it was meant to open my mind to expand my knowledge in my studies, but to me...I fell in love.

Because I went to that school, It paved the way for me to attend LaGuardia H.S for performing arts, which opened my ears to jazz music, which allowed me to attend the Litchfield Jazz Camp and meet some of my closest friends, which helped me get into a music conservatory, which allowed me to continually perfect my craft, which forced me to grow up and look at life different.

My outlook in life was so different 10+ years ago, I only saw the goodness and happiness every so often, but music and the last 10 years made my eyes and mind open. I learned to stop and look around and see the beauty of it all. To listen and respond, to help and to care for those I barely know. It was my mother who started the seed for all this, but it was the years of living, the individuals I met along the way that helped shape me. It was those people that made me realize success is all about a mindset, not a specific act. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year made me who I am this very moment.

I can look back in life thus far and know that I'm happy. And there is nothing random about that. I made the decision to be happy, to live every day as it is meant to be lived, to pick up my horn and create music, to affect my fellow human beings in any positive way I can. The sadness from my past, the confusion of childhood, the search for a deeper meaning,  only makes my success in the present feel even more amazing.

It took me 27 years of trial and error to come to this point. So was it random, or was it scripted like a well written play? I say it again, it's a little bit of both. But unlike a play or a movie, I can't start from the beginning all over again whenever I deicide. But, what I can do is sketch out my next few chapters and see where it goes. I can see how clever "randomness" can be. Because it can always come to this.. "If life's randomness was so random, would I have still ended up here?"

Albert Rivera

"Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature." Eric Hoffer

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's February already!!! And a peak into the summer...

Wow! Where did the month go. It was just yesterday that I was sipping on some champagne ringing in the new year,  And now? It's the second month of the year, no major issues, things are moving well... In my book, that's plenty to be happy about.

With 2011 off and running, a lot of projects are in the mix. I got Latin Jazz Thursdays off and running with my buddy and B. Smith's Executive V.P Adam Caswell, and so far it's been cooking. I'm looking forward to next Thursday for the show! Well, that's saying I get back to NYC in time.
Front of Vita Muir's House(Executive Director- LPA)

As I sit down and type this I look out the window and I would guess there is about 4 feet of snow. The Front door or side doors can't open cause the snow is blocking it, and the driveway...well, you can only imagine.  I'm up here doing some work for Litchfield Performing Arts getting things situated for the summer school that kicks off July 10th. It takes tons of preparation, and I do love working for this company and for what there mission is. Bringing music to the people through education and performances.  Well, regardless of the snow it didn't stop me from making good progress. Just got confirmed that trumpeter Jean Caze (you may know him for being in Michael Buble's band) will be joining us for the full month of the Litchfield Jazz Camp. This is gonna be an amazing summer. Jean will be joining me on stage at the Jazz Festival which follows the school in the first weekend of August with my Organ Band. It's gonna be a live recording, so I am pumped! More info to follow! For more info on Jean or Michael Buble and touring click on their names.

It's amazing for things to be falling in great places, I've been feeling so inspired and I can't wait to grow some more so that I can continually positively effect others as well. I'm trying!

I'll end with a quote by the great Albert Einstein. "Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value" I will do my best Einstein and I will be my best.
Smiles from Connecticut

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Take a moment and look around...It's a nice view.

When was the last time you stopped in the middle of what you were doing and looked around? I bet it's been a while. Maybe it's been a week, or a year or maybe you haven't done so since you've been a child. But I want you to look around you, and notice the little things. I know it's not a big thing to do, nor will it take much effort. But what it will do is plant a seed of realization. Some people stay away from what their reality is for many reasons, maybe it's a money issue, or a family one, maybe they just feel lonely or out a place, and their best answer is to simply dive into work, dive into an addiction, or simply dive, but when you take a moment and realize what is usually right in front of you, or right at your door, you realize life is marvelous.

Take a moment to breath, to live, to smile. Don't do it simply because someone tells you that you should, do it because it's the things that surround you, the feelings that you feel, that make you alive. It makes you human.

You eat and sleep because you are human, you love and feel because you exist. If you spend your whole life never really experiencing the little things..then what are you truly doing?

See in my eyes, noticing the little things makes doing the big things worthwhile. I once was asked a question by a lady on the streets of NYC, why I was smiling and whistling. My answer was "because I'm living". She looked at me as if she was in shock, she took a moment and looked around, looked back at me and then began to smile as she walked away. So do me a favor and take a moment to look around, notice how lucky we all are, and remember..It's a nice view out there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Latin Jazz Thursdays starts this week!

I'm thrilled that I got the Curtis Brothers to lead Latin Jazz Thursdays at B. Smith's With Ciroc as the sponsor I got a great feeling about this series. We are running it to March 10th and possibly further. Just depends on you...the fans in coming out! 
So what else you got going on Thursday nights? The music starts at 9p.m and there is no cover. I'll be there, not to mention CIROC Models  
Have you seen these commercials. I was laughing so hard...
If you wanna RSVP to the event click here to be directed to facebook.
Hope to see ya soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A quote about reaching your goals

It is a fact of life that most of us try and fail many times before we ultimately achieve the level of success that we desire. You can expect to travel the extra mile many times only to find fool’s gold at the end of your rainbow. But you will most certainly miss out on the great riches that await you if you quit trying. A superficial commitment to doing more than expected based only on what you expect to receive will not sustain you in the long term. Great achievement results from a commitment to do the right thing regardless of the consequences, and that commitment will ultimately lead you to the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow.

For more inspirational quotes and more info on Napoleon Hill go to http://www.naphill.org

Monday, January 10, 2011

‘Inner Peace,’ Albert Rivera helps define Atlanta’s Turnaround Records

Jazz CD review: With ‘Inner Peace,’ Albert Rivera helps define Atlanta’s Turnaround Records
by Jon Ross | Jan 10, 2011

Turnaround Records had a full-blown coming out party in 2010. The two-year-old Atlanta label had been relatively quiet since its founding, only releasing the debut disc from its sole artist, New York tenor saxophonist Albert Rivera, in 2008. Last year, “Evidence of Things to Come” by local saxophonist Brian Hogans — here’s my review — rolled out; another local player, trumpeter Melvin Jones, went into the studio for a recording due out this spring. In addition to signing new talent, the label also returned its original signee in the act, releasing Rivera’s sophomore effort, “Inner Peace.”

The saxophonist’s gruff, unaccompanied tenor is the first sound on “Inner Peace.” There’s reverb — it sounds like he might be playing in a tunnel — but the short, rhythmic statement introducing “It Always Comes Back to This” is otherwise completely raw. Rivera repeats a four-note pattern twice in a commanding, low tone before the band joins in and he launches into a melodic line full of tender sentiment. The album’s foundation is a contrast between this bedroom sound and the aggression heard mostly during Rivera’s solos. In the span of a minute, the saxophonist has imprinted his two personalities on the up-tempo song, which evolves into a smooth funk tune, propelled by prodding organ pecks, frenetic brushwork and the clean guitar tone of Mark Whitfield.

On soprano, which Rivera reserves for two languid ballads (“Inner Peace” and “While You Were Gone”), he asserts his more confrontational personality on the smaller, more sensitive-sounding instrument. Rivera’s soprano sound is equally as compelling as his tenor technique; he wrestles a deep, rich tone from the bright, tiny saxophone.

Bassist Luques Curtis and pianist Zaccai Curtis, holdovers from Rivera’s last effort, are thoughtful accompanists who help bring Rivera’s ideas to fully-formed compositions. The exceptional Nick Roseboro is also heard on trumpet, his improvisations matching (and nearly exceeding) Rivera’s abilities. For the rest of his sidemen, the saxophonist uses a revolving door — Jean Caze on trumpet; Nathan Jolley and John Iannuzzi on drums; Beck Burger on Hammond B3; and Whitfield on guitar. This lineup is broken up into different combinations for each tune (everyone playing together would be a bit muddy for Rivera’s songs), and this gives Rivera the benefit of introducing new ideas into the group and receiving fresh responses in return. Each ensemble change is flawless; the many different units presented on the album work interchangeably.

“Inner Peace” typifies Turnaround Records’ musical outlook. Storied jazz companies like ECM Records and Blue Note became famous for spotlighting certain types of musicians and helping mold a signature recorded atmosphere through studio techniques. When listeners picked up a Chick Corea album on ECM, they were buying the label’s idea of jazz as well as the musician’s artistic concept. While Turnaround Records lacks the output to establish a definition of its place in the jazz sphere, “Inner Peace” echoes many of the same ideas heard from Hogans on his debut. The albums eschew traditional standards and opts for original material that incorporates a range of pop, funk and jazz influences. Through studio work, the artists have a crisp, clean sound with a presence so big it jumps out through the speakers.

Of course, two artists don’t make a label, and it’s a bit early to start writing the history of Turnaround Records. But Rivera and Hogans have gone a long way toward helping the label achieve an all-encompassing concept.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Time at the Jazz Conference in New Orleans

I can't think of a better time then getting together in a beautiful city with thousands of people all for the love of jazz. With shows, clinics, panels, discussions and of course seeing friends and colleagues you may have not seen in a while.

I arrived early Thursday morning to New Orleans, LA even with my flight having a slight delay. The flight was packed with great musicians, from legendary pianist Junior Mance to amazing drummer Matt Wilson and a bunch of Jazz Education Conferences attendees.
I was fortunate to have Litchfield Performing Arts and RS Berkeley(my saxophone endorsement) bring me down, so I did my best to split my time spent with them both. Not to mention trying to have time to meet a whole lot of new people, But it worked out perfectly!
(L:R) Albert Rivera, Vita Muir(LPA), Todd Feldman, Don Braden 

Friday came quickly and a bunch of the RS Berkeley endorsers got together to do an impromptu performance of "When The Saints Go Marching In" Fun times for all!
I always love these conferences, cause it builds up memories that last a long time.

Saturday went quick with my flight in the late afternoon, but I was able to have a great lunch and conversation with my good friend Frank Alkyer (Publisher of Downbeat Magazine) and a number of other people including saxophonists Claire Daly and Andrew Hadro as well as PR supervisor of Alfred Music Publishing Marina Terteryan and marketer/vocalist Carri Bugbee about the future of self marketing, career building and social media. Pretty intense, but I feel like I got a lot of it.

My flight back from JetBlue was quick and easy with fellow saxophonist Victor Goines(J@LC) among others and even happen to be sitting next to some jazz fans!
I head back to NY with a refreshed mind, and some great ideas. 2011 is just in it's beginning stages and words can't express how excited I am!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lesson about adversity from N.Hill

There’s an old adage that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So it is with our failures. Unless we learn from our mistakes, we are likely to repeat them until we learn from such experiences and correct our course — or give up and accept temporary defeat as permanent failure. Every setback you encounter in life contains valuable information that, if you study it carefully, will eventually lead you to success. Without adversity, you would never develop wisdom, and without wisdom, success would be short lived indeed. When you make a mistake, say, “That’s good! I?ve gotten that out of the way. I will never do that again.” You will no doubt make other mistakes, but they won’t bother you nearly as much when you treat them as learning experiences.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Heading to New Orleans this week!

Well with the new year upon us, I can look back and say how amazing 2010 was. It was the year where I paid my entire student debt off (and all other debt as well) my 2nd album was released, I was endorsed by RS Berkeley and have a beautiful saxophone in my arsenal and not to mention I've never had this many gigs in a course of 1 year ever. For that I am truly grateful!
A lot to be thankful for, but I do admit, I'm even more excited by 2011.
Having in my mind all the lessons I have learned from last year, I can only hope and know that this year will be an even stronger one for myself and my career. And I'm happy to be starting it off right!
The first couple of days found me performing, and on Thursday I'll be in New Orleans, LA for the Jazz Education Network conference.
You can find me in Booth #608 with the good folks at RS Berkeley as well as running around with my great friends and family at Litchfield Performing Arts that I am proud to be the Director of Operations. (a.k.a Assistant Musical Director) promoting the Jazz Camp and a new program that started last year called "Teach The teacher"
So for all the folks that will be there, feel free to say hello, and let's catch up!

Let us all think big for this new year and make things happen.
As in the great words of Napoleon Hill
"There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge."