Diego Rivera | The Contender

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United States - Michigan

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Jazz: Latin Jazz Moods: Instrumental
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The Contender

by Diego Rivera

A straight-ahead jazz recording. No frills, no fuss, just swing...hard swing.
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Contender
4:28 $0.99
2. El Pachuco
6:04 $0.99
3. Don't...can't...won't...
4:49 $0.99
4. Yesterdays
4:57 $0.99
5. Para Los Muertos
6:29 $0.99
6. My Cherie Amour
4:58 $0.99
7. The Whit
6:06 $0.99
8. Frida
4:15 $0.99
9. Silver's Serenade
5:18 $0.99
10. Little Giant
3:31 $0.99
11. Tinte Latino
4:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“The Contender” features 8 exciting original compositions along with 3 unique arrangements of diverse standards from composers Jerome Kern, Horace Silver and Stevie Wonder. A stellar line-up highlights Rivera’s composing and arranging skills while providing ample support for his ‘tough’ tenor-playing. Rivera also makes room on the record for some outstanding guest work by vocalist & trumpeter Bria Skonberg, vibraphonist Behn Gillece and percussionist (as well as engineer) Andrew Swift. Produced by Trombonist Michael Dease, the record explores Rivera’s reflections on life, love and his Chicano heritage. As bassist Rodney Whitaker says in the liner notes, “With his new release, “The Contender”, Diego has given us a glimpse into his life.”

At the core of “The Contender” is a superb line-up consisting of Greg Gisbert on Trumpet, Diego Rivera on Tenor & Soprano Saxophones, Michael Dease on Trombone, Miki Hayama on Piano, Rodney Whitaker on Bass and Ulysses Owens Jr. on Drums. The sextet plays masterfully through Rivera’s robust title track, “The Contender”, blues inspired “The Whit”, dedicated to and featuring bassist Rodney Whitaker (who also provides the liner notes for his Michigan State University Jazz Studies colleague) a forceful version of the Jerome Kern classic “Yesterdays”, a hard-swingin’ arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” and a hybrid conception of the Horace Silver penned, “Silver’s Serenade”. Bria Skonberg turns Rivera’s lyric into intimacy & melancholy on “Don’t...Can’t...Won’t...” while “Frida” pays homage to the iconic wife of Rivera’s namesake. Percussionist Andrew Swift joins the group for some serious fun on “El Pachuco”, the pensive “Para Los Muertos” (for the dead) and the album-closer “Tinte Latino” (Latin Tinge). Also joining the group on “Para Los Muertos” is Vibraphonist Behn Gillece who contributes some fabulous mallet work on the up-tempo burner, “Little Giant” dedicated to the late saxophonist Johnny Griffin.

“The Contender” promises to provide die-hard jazz aficionados with ‘home-cooked’ fare while simultaneously introducing a few new flavors to test their palate. As Whitaker states, “Diego is a renaissance man steeped in the tradition of jazz history yet having one foot in jazz’s future.”



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