Hard Pass - Alberto Rivera

Nabori Nation was able to steal a few minutes from Alberto Rivera to have a short conversation about HIM AND NABORI. Alberto is a well respected percussionist and has been a key member of Nabori over the last six years. We start with a bottle of Hennessy and a few questions.  Nabori is now in its 10th year of operations.




NN - Alberto, tell us; where were you born and raised? 

AR - West side of Milwaukee – on Clybourn Street


NN - What person or event ignited your interest in music? What person or event drew your interest to Salsa music? 

AR -My uncles were musicians. One a guitar player and the other a timbalero.  Those were my biggest influences and what gave me the spark to want to be a musician.  My Mom used to sing in parrandas while my Dad played guiro. So I grew up in a musical environment but it was my uncles that sparked my interest.


NN - What is the first Salsa record/cut you remember hearing or buying?

AR - “Los Zapatos de Manacho” from El Gran Combo


NN - The  Alberto Rivera Salsa Super Combo includes you and which other salseros? (dead or alive)

AR - Piano – Papo Lucca

Bass – Pedro Perez

Congas – Giovanni Hidalgo

Timbal – Wichy Ayala, I mean Tito de Gracia (clearly a downgrade)

Trumpet – Victor Paz

Trumpet – Juancito Torres

T’Bone – Tonito Vasquez

T’Bone – Reynaldo Jorge

Coro – Yayo el indio, Adalberto Santiago

Lead singer – Ismael Rivera


NN - What has been your favorite Nabori gig so far? Why?

AR -– The Carlos Beltran Annual Noche en San Juan Fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel in St Louis, 



NN - What musician who plays your instrument (dead or alive) would you love to share some Hennessy with? 

AR - Chucky Lopez – Bongo for Eddie Palmieri


NN - 2015 marks Nabori's 10th year of existence; What does Nabori mean to you?

AR - It signifies the reinvigoration of my desire to continue in the music business.  I’ve been in this business a long time and I was intrigued by Nabori’s commitment to doing original music;  it certainly validated for me that original music is always so much better than simply playing cover tunes.  It provides a channel for me to re-live some of the original salsa moments of the days when I ran my own band in which we also executed original material. 


NN - If there was a Mt. Rushmore built for salsa bands, who would you include?

AR -El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, La Sonora Poncea, Ray Barretto and Eddie Palmieri