Albert Rivera Visiting the Vandoren NYC Studio
Hey, my name is Albert Rivera. I am from New York—I play the alto A9 medium chamber and the T11 tenor chamber, the S8 on soprano. I just wanted to spend some time talking to you guys about my setup. I’ve been performing professionally for years—I’ve traveled all around the country/parts of the world. I am the Director of Operations at the Litchfield Jazz Camp in Connecticut with a bunch of other great musicians and fellow Vandoren artists as well. I have released a few albums under my own name—the most recent is Back At It, which was released in July 2015.
For all of my reeds, regardless of my instrument I’m playing, I always play blue box #3. I feel it works, for the entire line, really well for me. I never need to worry about it.
One question that always comes up to me is, “What do you do to find a good reed?” Usually my answer to that is find a good setup and all of your reeds would work. A lot of times people would worry about finding one or two good reeds, and then they feel like the rest of them don’t work as well as they should. Once I figured out this setup, between the alto, tenor, and soprano with the blue box #3s, it was a perfect match. The response I get from the reeds and the consistency is all around. Almost never do I have a reed coming out of the box that just doesn’t really work for me—which is the part of finding a good setup. Take the time to figure out your setup: it’s very important to getting your sound and worrying less about what you need to worry about.
The T11 gives me the opportunity to have my own unique sound no matter what ensemble I’m performing in—whether it’s my quartet, quintet, or sextet, or big band, even doesn’t even matter. I like the facility it allows me to perform while I’m on tenor, but more importantly, since I am a doubler between soprano and alto, it’s easy for me to jump from one to the next. And that to me is one of the most important things I need with my setup. The T11 I use a blue box #3, and anything hard it gets a little too difficult for me, and softer is a little too easy and breaks up my sound. So once again my setup for all the saxophones are: Optimum ligatures, the V16 mouthpieces, and blue box (Traditional) #3.