Music In Me
Let's Do It Again
Palmieri, Much Respect
Africa My Land
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.