Music for Social Justice: Diego Rivera, saxophone

Special video premiere presentation

Video interview and performance with saxophonist Diego Rivera


“Alabama” by John Coltrane Composed in 1964 as a response to the 1963 terrorist bombing of the 16th st. Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, John Coltrane's moving piece showcases the power of music to help process and heal through tragedy. Professor Rivera features Alabama in everyone of his classes to teach the lesson that artists have a voice to speak on the issues they are passionate about. 

Diego Rivera is a world-class musician, composer, arranger and educator known for his muscular saxophone tone and unique blend of straight-ahead mainstream jazz fused with music inspired by his Latino background and heritage. A dedicated educator, he is associate professor of jazz saxophone and improvisation and associate director of the award-winning Jazz Studies program at Michigan State University. 

This performance is part of the Michigan State University College of Music video series, Music for Social Justice, which came about in the midst of the movement that began following the the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others. Faculty members in the college felt the need to express their thoughts and feelings on important social justice issues and they chose to do so through music.

Recommended listening

Watch the premiere of this presentation and share comments on the MSU College of Music YouTube channel.

The 2020–2021 Music for Social Justice video series is generously sponsored by the MSU Federal Credit UnionAll videos in the MSU Music for Social Justice series have been filmed following safety guidelines and regulations as set forth by Michigan State University and the State of Michigan.

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