Mark Rivera, born on May 24, 1953, is an acclaimed American saxophonist known for his versatility and prolific work with a range of celebrated musicians. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Rivera’s musical journey began at the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. His first significant exposure in the music industry came in the mid-1970s when he played with the band Tycoon. This opportunity connected him with Robert John “Mutt” Lange, leading to associations with Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner and paving the way to the “big leagues” of rock music.
Over the years, Rivera has shared his saxophone talents with a number of high-profile artists. His work with Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Simon & Garfunkel, John Lennon, Billy Ocean, and Joe Walsh is notable. Not to mention his collaborations with Billy Joel, which began in 1982, replacing Richie Cannata. His tenure with Billy Joel’s band is marked by a deep camaraderie, having performed together for nearly four decades.
In 1995, Rivera expanded his musical repertoire by joining Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, a collaboration that would span several tours. His role as a musical director and multi-instrumentalist for Ringo Starr’s band has earned him recognition for his leadership skills and versatility as a musician.
Rivera’s solo career has also seen noteworthy achievements. In 2014, he released his debut solo album “Common Bond”, which featured appearances by Billy Joel, Ringo Starr, Nils Lofgren, and Steve Lukather. One of the album’s songs, “Money Money Money”, was a finalist for 2014’s Coolest Song in the World on Little Steven’s Underground Garage.
Rivera’s contributions extend beyond the stage and the studio. In February 2023, he published his autobiography, “Sideman: In Pursuit of the Next Gig”, providing insights into his life and experiences in the music industry. His work in promoting and producing corporate entertainment and related events has led to the establishment of The Mark Rivera Entertainment Group, which has produced events for numerous corporations, trade associations, and educational groups.
Page last updated 6/20/2023.