Biography

 

MSU HeadshotA world-class musician, composer, arranger and educator, Diego Rivera has entertained audiences for over 15 years. Rivera is known for his muscular tone and unique blend of straight-ahead mainstream jazz fused with music inspired by his Latino background and heritage. He currently holds an appointment as Associate Professor of Jazz Saxophone at Michigan State University where he also serves as Associate Director of Jazz Studies. 

Since 1999, he has performed concerts across the United States, Canada, Greece, Japan and South Korea. His debut recording, Hercules was released in 2006 on his own record label, Rivera Records. His latest CD project, The Contender (D-Clef Records 2013) received national critical-acclaim reaching #8 on the JazzWeek Radio Charts. He has toured/performed with Juno-Award winning Jazz Vocalist, Sophie Milman,  The Carl Allen-Rodney Whitaker Group, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Cobb, Wycliffe Gordon, The Gerald Wilson Big Band, The Christian McBride Big Band, The Michael Dease Big Band, Etienne Charles' Creole Soul. He has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals, clubs and venues in the world including Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (NYC), The Blue Note (NYC, Tokyo), Massey Hall (Toronto), The Montreal Jazz Festival and The Detroit International Jazz Festival.  Rivera has also appeared on several recordings as a sideman and arranger. 

An avid composer and arranger, Rivera has written arrangements for a number of recordings and artists most notably for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Motor City Jazz” concert, a tribute to the music and musicians of Detroit. His arranging work can be heard on two of the Carl Allen-Rodney Whitaker recordings for Mack Avenue Records: Get Ready (2007) and Work To Do (2008).

A passionate educator, Rivera has presented masterclasses at schools and universities both in the US and abroad. Several of his former students enjoy careers as professional performing musicians with artists such as: Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Birdland Big Band, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra and the GRAMMY-Award winning group, Snarky Puppy.