Little Johnny Rivero – Music In Me – Truth Revolution

Little Johnny Rivero – Music In Me [TrackList follows]- Truth Revolution TRR 022, 58:39 ****: 

A musical excursion that constructs numerous threads of Latin tradition.

(Little Johnny Rivero – congas, bongo, timbales & minor percussion; Brian Lynch – trumpet; Louis Fouché – alto sax; Zaccai Curtis – piano & Fender Rhodes; Luques Curtis – bass; Ludwig Afonso – drums; special guests: Conrad Herwig; Jonathan Powell; Alfredo De La Fé; Natalie Fernandez; Anthony Carrillo; Luisito Quintero; Giovanni Almonte; Manny Mieles; Edwin Ramos)

The most common definition of infectious is a medical one, such as likely to spread infection. In a more generic sense, it can be used to describe something that is “likely to spread or influence others in a rapid manner”. The music offered by Little Johnny Rivero in his release Music In Me falls into the latter category, as the Latin sounds pulse out of the speakers, there is a finger-popping, shoulder-shaking vibe will keep the listener engaged.

In this nine track set of high octane rhythm, Rivero and his band plus a number of special guests deliver a master class of Latin jazz timbre and textures. Starting with “Mr. LP” which is dedicated to Latin Percussion (LP) Founder Martin Cohen. The number opens with a wicked brass line from trumpeter Brian Lynch, joined by trombonist Conrad Herwig and trumpeter Jonathan Powell all punching out the theme. The percussion section keeps the pace up throughout. The title track “Music In Me” is a rhumba jam that features trumpeter Brian Lynch as he soars over the pulsating rhythm section, after which Louis Fouché’s alto sax jumps in with a biting solo.

Each  track segues from one to the next almost seamlessly, but Rivero has paced the music so that the changes in rhythmic style signals a new number. “Little Giants” is a jazz mambo driven by the bongos of Anthony Carrillo and the high altitude trumpet playing of Jonathan Powell. A cha-cha-cha is next up with “Palmieri,Much Respect” as Rivero takes over the timbales, and Natalie Fernandez offers a wordless overdubbed vocal to special effect, with pianist Zaccai Curtis delivering a peppy solo.

For a complete change of pace “Afro-Rykan Thoughts” is funk/Latin jam number that shows the versatility of two stalwart players, trumpeter Brian Lynch and alto saxophonist Louis Fouché. The session closes with “Alambique” a rhumba lead by timbalier Luisito Quintero, with Alfredo De La Fé squeezing in a violin solo that is entirely in keeping with the intent of the of the number.

TrackList: Mr. LP; Music In Me; Let’s Do It Again; Little Giants; Palmieri, Much Respect; Africa My Land; Bombazúl; Afro-Rykan Thoughts; Alambique

—Pierre Giroux

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