Chencho Rivera y su Grupo Abacoa

Inocencio (Chencho) Rivera a gifted and accomplished Bass Player and an out of this world Jazz Musician on the "Cuatro",  was born  in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1932.  At an early age he began studying music and by  the age of 7 he played the guitar and cuatro.  In 1947 he moved to New York City and began his career as a professional  musician as guitarist.   In the late 1950s he moved to Los Angeles, California initiating a new stage in his career.  He started playing the Bass and in the early sixties he joined the Maestro Perez Prado's Orchestra and toured the United States, South America, Scandinavia and Europe.  By 1966, he returned to N.Y.C. and worked with the likes of Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, Candido, Ray Barret0, Willie Colon and Cal Tjader  among others, as their Bass Player .  Later while visiting Puerto Rico, he joined the Lito Pena's Orchestra Panamerican. In  1973 he traveled to Mexico and played with several outstanding musicians. 

In  1975 he met a young woman  musician that opened up a new world for him in the use of the "Cuatro Puertorriqueno."  Until that time he only played traditional Puerto Rican music.  It was a revelation that began a revolution which catapulted the stereotyped "Cuatro" into the limelight and displayed its versatility and that it could be played year round.   Chencho  having had an ample jazz and tropical music as a Bass player figured it woudl be good for Jazz.   In 1976 Chencho  moved to Boston where he enrolled in the renowned Berklee College of Music, one of the best schools for jazz in the world, and served as the  Latin Ensemble instructor for 2 years.  In 1980 he returned to NY and completed his studies at Brooklyn College.  "At first,  people didn't pay too much attention to it, he admits."  Perhaps his innovative take on the cuatro didn't suite the public's fancy back then.  But thanks to his many efforts throughout his 30 years, the good ol' Puerto Rican cuatro has proven that it fits just as well in a "seis choriaeo" as in jazz and as in classical piece.

Today, Chencho lives in Puerto Rico and in addition to playing the Cuatro, recording albums and writing books  he also teaches composition, arrangement and prepares students for their entrance exams to  Berklee School of Music.  He can be reached at chenchr.rivera41@gmail.com, (787) 201 8908