Drummer, educator and clinician, Alvin Atkinson, Jr. has toured the globe with his group Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants. In 2009, the group traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon for the U.S. State Department’s Musical Overtures tour. In the 2007 and 2008, the group participated in the Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program (sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center) tour to the Middle East and Russia. In 2008, Jazz at Lincoln Center asked Alvin to lead the “All-Star American Music Abroad Group” tour to Mali, India and China.
Atkinson’s career highlights include recording the theme song for PBS’s show, Moment of Luxury, the New York One Television Network’s theme song, and the music for the HBO Cat House and Katie Morgan: Sex Guide documentaries. Additionally, Atkinson participated as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. For the past seven years. Traveling to Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Hayti. This program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department Kennedy Center and Jazz @ Lincoln Center .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, Atkinson has shared the stage with notable artists such as: Freddy Redd, Roy Hargrove, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Barry Harris, Houston Person, Luciana Souza, Don Braden, Frank Wess, Oscar Brown, Jr., Ernie Andrews, Tom Browne, Vanessa Rubin and Wycliffe Gordon.
Atkinson served as the Visiting Professor of Drum-set Studies for the 2004-2005 school year at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He worked with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy, the Bronx Academy, and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Currently Atkinson conducts music workshops through the Midori & Friends, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Band Director’s Academy, and the Litchfield Jazz Camp.
Atkinson’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 for the single Dance of the Emirates.