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Little Johnny Rivero

Music in Me




Mr. LP

Music In Me

Let's Do It Again

Little Giants

Palmieri, Much Respect

Africa My Land


Afro-Rykan Thoughts


Little Johnny Rivero (congas, bongo, timbales, talking drums, quinto, barril de bomba, chants on Africa My Land, coro on Alambique cajon, bata, shekere, and udu drum): Brian Lynch (trumpet): Louis Fouché (alto sax): Zaccai Curtis (piano and fender Rhodes): Luques Curtis (bass, coro on Alambique): Ludwig Afonso (drums)

Special Guests: Conrad Herwig (trombone tracks 1, 4): Jonathan Powell (trumpet tracks 1, 4, 5, 9): Alfredo de la Fé (violin track 9): Natalie Fernandez (vocals track 5): Anthony Carrillo (bongo, bata, barril de bomba, cuas and maracas tracks 1, 4, 6, 7, 9): Luisito Quintero (timbales tracks 1, 4, 9): Giovanni Almonte (poem recitation track 6): Manny Mieles (chant vocals track 6): Edwin Ramos (coro track 9)

Recorded at Tedesco Studios, NJ / TRR Studios, NJ; M&M Latin Records, NY; Audio Beast Studios, April 2014-August 2015


Puerto Rican percussionist Little Johnny Rivero cooks up a veritable Latin groove in his second solo album. A prolific sideman on disc he is well placed to bring in a roll call of special guests, with many of whom he has appeared on disc.

The nine-track CD is bursting with vitality and Afro-Cuban vibe. Mr LP features guest Conrad Herwig whose mobile trombone playing is splendidly deployed over the propulsive but supple rhythm of Rivero, pianist Zaccai Curtis, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Ludwig Afonso. There’s a mini-fiesta of stylistic confectionary to be encountered on Music in Me, the title track, a kind of Latin-Jazz rumba propelled by Rivero’s timbral variety and abetted by Brian Lynch’s trumpet and the taut piano prompts. It’s on Let’s Do It Again that Louis Fouché’s sparkling alto makes itself heard, his daring and darting runs complementing, with fluency, the band’s all-round groove; and here Lynch proves exultant in his own soloing over the pulsing rhythm and colour-drenched percussion established by Rivero.

This is a really evocative and exciting album, from the convulsive Mambo ofLittle Giants through the cha-cha-cha of Palmieri, Much Respect (the nod in the title is to the great Eddie Palmieri) where the timbales are prominent and where Natalie Fernandez’s wordless vocal evokes just the right feel. Giovanni Almonte’s poem in celebration of Africa has a chant vocal with supportive front line trumpet and sax to add ballast to that already established by the trenchant rhythm. The eventful contribution of Anthony Carrillo’s barril de bomba vies with Fouché’s voluble, vivacious sax playing in Bombazúl. There’s something of a classic Blue Note feel to Afro-Rykan Thoughts during which the spirit of Horace Silver seems to hover with its sinewy front line contributions – strong trumpet calls and less punchy but more blue-tinged alto. The rhythm section meanwhile cooks up the spirit of Ray Bryant and Art Blakey.

This vivacious album reprises Rivero’s credentials as a master percussionist whose band enjoys a high quotient of Latin allure.

Jonathan Woolf

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