lex Rivera hails from a musical family. His stepfather, Danny Hollis, was a local jazz musician who played piano and trombone with the late Tommy Loy's Upper Dallas Jazz Band. It was at an early age that Alex became interested in music. He wanted to play trombone like his dad but his arms were too short, so he ended up starting on cornet. He continued to play it until he was 13, when Mr. Loy gave him a Getzen Doc Severinsen as his first trumpet. Later, he was able to study with local professionals and educators such as Rodney Booth, Lyman Brodie, and Luis Martinez. As much as he focused on the classical end of trumpet playing, it was during high school that he started to develop a taste for jazz. In 1992, he led a quartet, under the direction of his father, to the Booker T. Washington Jazz Festival, where he earned the festival's award for top High School jazz soloist.