Billy Joel’s Saxophonist Mark Rivera Talks History-Making Moments With The Piano Man

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Photo credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

kearthevents Britt Bickel
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He may not be a household name to the masses, but you’ve certainly heard his work at some point or another. Saxophonist Mark Rivera called in to The K-EARTH 101 Morning Show to talk about his incredible career playing with some of the biggest acts in music.

Throughout his career, Mark has worked with a variety of artists including Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Simon & Garfunkel, John Lennon, The Eagles, Ringo Starr & His All Star Band and more. However, Mark is most well known as the saxophonist to the piano man. He’s been a staple in Billy Joel’s band since 1982 and reflects on some of the memorable moments during his time playing with Joel.

As a longtime member of Billy Joel’s band, Mark continues to make history with the piano man to this day. Just this past week, Billy Joel performed at the Hollywood Bowl for the very first time, with two more shows to go this week.

Mark also talked about being part of Billy’s history-making 1987 performance in Russia titled ‘A Matter Of Trust: The Bridge To Russia.’ For the first time, that concert is available today on a special CD/DVD combo featuring the live music/footage from the concert and a deluxe release that includes the Showtime documentary of Joel touring Russia during the Cold War.

“It was the first rock and roll band [in Russia]. Billy basically said, ‘it’s time’ and the title ‘A Bridge To Russia’ the bridge a metaphor being that his music was a bridge to our cultures,” Mark explained. “It’s a piece of history and I’m very proud to be part of it,” said Mark.

As one of the most famous musicians to come out of New York, Joel announced late last year that he’d perform one concert per month at NYC’s Madison Square Garden indefinitely. So how long does Mark think fans will continue to buy tickets to MSG?

“Right now, we’re sold out until December,” said Mark. “I can’t see it lasting less than three to four years. As long as he has the wherewithal to do it, he’ll put butts in seats forever.”

Want to see Billy Joel live at Madison Square Garden yourself? Enter to win the Billy Joel ‘Bridge To Russia’ New York Flyaway Sweepstakes on www.billyjoelcbs.com! One grand prize winner receives 2 tickets to see Billy Joel live at Madison Square Garden on October 2, 2014; 2 roundtrip airline tickets & 2 nights hotel accommodation; 1 copy of “A Matter Of Trust: The Bridge To Russia” 2CD+DVD.

Listen to our complete interview with Mark Rivera in the clip below!

Mark Rivera

K-EARTH 101
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