Alvin Atkinson, Jr.
Drummer, educator and clinician, Alvin Atkinson, Jr. grew up singing and playing music with his parents, who were the directors of their church's gospel choir. He became hooked on jazz at the young age of eight and has been balancing a career as a performer and an educator for over 15 years. In 2008 and 2007, Alvin participated in the Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program (sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and State Department) tour to Russia and the Middle East with his group, Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants. Jazz at Lincoln Center additionally asked Alvin to lead the All Star American Music Abroad Group to Mali, India and China.
Career highlights include recording the New York One Television Network’s theme song and the music for the HBO Cat House documentary. Additionally, Alvin participated in two Jazz Ambassador tours of Africa and South America sponsored by the Kennedy Center and the State Department in 2004; a performance at the White House for President George W. Bush in 2002; house drummer for the 2002-2003 season of the Emeril Live television show on the Food Network Channel; and the “Harlem” National Tour with the Kennedy Center 2002 and 2003.
Throughout the US and abroad, Alvin has shared the stage with various artists such as: Freddy Redd, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Barry Harris, Houston Person, Louciana Souza, Don Braden, Frank Wess, Oscar Brown, Jr., James Carter, Cecil Bridgewater, Ernie Andrews, Miguel Zenon, Tom Browne, Vanessa Rubin and Wycliffe Gordon.
Currently, Alvin leads educational programs through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz in the Schools, the Band Director’s Academy, and he conducts workshops for New York City students through Midori and Friends. Alvin served as the Visiting Professor of Drum-set Studies at the University of Manitoba, on the staffs of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy, the Bronx Academy, the Litchfield Jazz Camp and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City.
Alvin’s first solo project Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants received nominations for “Best International Jazz Song” from the First Annual 2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine and “Best Jazz Song” from the Seventh Annual Independent Music Awards.