Little Johnny Rivero and His Giants

Little Johnny Rivero at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola - Concert Review

Little Johnny Rivero and His Giants

On Wednesday September 20, 2017,  Truth Revolution Records artist Little Johnny Rivero brought the house down at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in NYC with his fiery brand of Latin Jazz. It was an engagement originally scheduled for earlier this year during the winter but was canceled due to a snowstorm that touched down in the NYC area. This event, which was a part of the 8th annual Coca-Cola Generations In Jazz Festival @Dizzy’s  featured the percussionist in a setting most are not used to seeing him in, as a leader in a club known primarily for Jazz music. Touring the world with legendary multi Grammy award winning pianist & composer Eddie Palmieri doesn’t allow Rivero much time to work on his own projects, which made this gig even more special. The musicians joining him onstage were Louis Fouché alto sax, Alex Norris trumpet, Zaccai Curtis piano, Luques Curtis bass & Joel Matéo drums. Fouché & Luques Curtis are also members of the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Band & Latin Jazz Group and with the exception of Alex Norris, all the other musicians also appear on Little Johnny’s latest CD titled Music In Me. Much of the music performed on this night came from the aforementioned CD. Everyone had a chance to shine; from the blistering solos of Fouché & Norris, the slick montunos of Zaccai Curtis, the solid & swinging bass lines of Luques Curtis to the team work of drummer Joel Matéo, providing support for the soloists by pushing when necessary while at the same time locking in rhythmically with Rivero. And then there was the leader himself. Little Johnny’s solos are a force to be reckoned with. The hand speed that he applies is awe inspiring without being mechanical or overly technical. Many percussionists like to play fast but it usually ends up being a case of style over substance, or as the late great timbalero Manny Oquendo used to say “all rolls & no butter.”  With Little Johnny, the rolls are hot & buttered on both sides; he makes every note count and it fits. He proved that to the audience a number of times, with the most notable being an extended solo that served as an into to Alambique, a tune from the CD composed by pianist Eric Figueroa & arranged by Zaccai Curtis.

Little Johnny & His Giants is in the process of putting together a tour which means they may be coming to a venue near you. Take my advice, do not miss this band!

Keith Thomas
September 2017

Photo by Keith Thomas

Music In Me, the latest release from Little Johnny Rivero is available from Truth Revolution Records:

Artist website: