Little Johnny Rivero legendary congero, percussionist, producer, song writer and band leader was born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents. As a young boy, Pequeño Johnny was drawn to the sounds and rhythms of the conga players from Jefferson and Randall’s Island parks. Little Johnny began practicing percussion at age ten and played in the school band. Soon after, he took dance lesson which eventually led to performances on stage with the bands of the era at such famous venues as The Manhattan Center, The Colgate Garden and The Copacabana. At age fourteen, Little Johnny joined Orquesta Colon, the youngest Latin band in New York City and recorded two albums with them.
Johnny moved to Puerto Rico with his parents and joined La Sonora Ponceña. After playing bongos with them for a year and a half he switched to congas, which rekindled the love affair he had begun with this instrument as a small child. During the sixteen years Little Johnny played with La Sonora Ponceña, he traveled the world and made eighteen highly respected albums with them. Little Johnny’s credits include work with Eddie Palmieri, Charlie Palmieri, Dave Valentin, Ruben Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Bebo Valdes, Celia Cruz, Frankie Ruiz, Sergio George, Desgarga Boricua all Star, RMM All Star, Alfredo De La Fe, Brian Lynch, Conrad Herwig, Donald Harrison, Phil Woods, David Sanchez, Monty Alexander Joe Locke, Kenny G, Paquito D Rivera and numerous other artists. Little Johnny has participated with five Grammy Awards Winners.
Pequeño Johnny Rivero “Pasos Gigantes Re-Mix”
This is salsa at its best. After a 16-year tenure with Puerto Rican salsa institution La Sonora Ponceña, percussionist “Little” Johnny Rivero showcases his compositional talents on this hip-shaking outing that’s sure to please salsa dura (tough salsa) enthusiasts around the globe. With exquisite arrangements by Andrés Hernández and former-Batacumbele pianist Eric Figueroa, Little Johnny opens with this homage to his drum, his mentors and his former bandmates in the sizzling opener “Pequeño Johnny.” What follows is even more fire and excitement as the next five tracks unfold before the calming and funky “Mi Yambú,” which showcases the brilliant Giovanni Hidalgo on quinto and cajón as well as tres maestro Nelson González.
★ “Pasos Gigantes Re-Mix” Available On ➧ cdbaby
Other guest appearances include violin virtuoso Alfredo De La Fe, who shines on “Le Traigo La Última,” and pianist (and Sonora Ponceña director) Papo Lucca on “Mr. LP,” the one instrumental track on the album (penned by Eric Figueroa). Rivero’s solid conga playing and tasty breaks and solos pepper this album, but the focus is the dance-generating grooves. This swings like classic salsa and plays all the way through as if you were there (NYC or Ponce, take your pick), bringing back the joy of well-played, well-produced, feel-good music.