“Tell me your name in leather, Little Johnny, Little Johnny” Hard Strike.
Conguero, percussionist, producer, composer, and conductor, Little Johnny Rivero has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.
Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Rivero was attracted to Latin jazz and the sounds and rhythms of the New York area rumberos as a child.
At age 10, Johnny began practicing percussion and joined his school band.
Shortly thereafter, he took dance lessons, which eventually led him to stage performances with the bands of the time at such famous venues as the Manhattan Center, Colgate Garden, Copacabana, and the Palladium.
At age 14, Rivero joined Orquesta Colón, the youngest Latin band in New York City, and recorded two albums with them.
Shortly thereafter, he took dance classes, which eventually led him to perform on stage with the bands of the time in such famous venues as the Manhattan Center, Colgate Garden, Copacabana, and the Palladium.
In 1973, Rivero moved to Puerto Rico with his parents and joined Sonora Ponceña in 1974.
After playing bongos with them for a year and a half, he switched to congas, which rekindled the love he had for the instrument as a child.
Rivero attributes the rhythms and professional direction he learned from Quique Lucca and his son, Papo Lucca, as qualities that have made him what he is today.
During the 16 years that Rivero played with La Sonora Ponceña, he traveled all over the world and made 18 highly respected albums with them.
Rivero has recorded with producers such as Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, and Dr. Lonnie Smith.
In May 1997, Rivero shared the stage with his inspiration and idol, José Mangual. Rivero’s credits also include work with Charlie Palmieri, Dave Valentín, Rubén Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Andy Montanez, Ismael Miranda, Celia Cruz, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Barretto, Patato Valdez, Changito, Tata Guines, John Santos, Sergio George, Bebo Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, and many other artists.
Rivero’s first solo effort, “Pasos Gigantes,” was well-received by critics and music fans.
He wrote and produced all the songs on that CD, showing off his skills as an arranger and musician.
He is currently working on his next CD, “Music in Me”, his first Latin Jazz album, which will include musicians, Brian Lynch on trumpet, Zaccai Curtis on piano and keyboards, Luques Curtis on bass, Louis Founche on saxophone, Andrei Matorin on violin, Ludwig Alfonso on drums, and Anthony Carrillo on bongo and bata drums.
Currently, Rivero is traveling internationally with Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri.
He also continues to record in-studio sessions and perform with many of the most respected acts in Latin music, including his own band.
Legendary conguero, percussionist, producer, composer and bandleader Little Johnny Rivero is proud to present his latest album, Golpe Duro, with Anthony Almonte.
From New York and after moving to Puerto Rico, he spent sixteen years with the Sonora Ponceña band and recorded eighteen highly respected albums.
He has played with many of the biggest and most respected names in Latin music, including nine-time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri.
During that same time, Little Johnny formed his salsa band and his Latin jazz band and continued to teach percussion at Kennedy High School in the Bronx, NY. It was there that Anthony Almonte, a high school student at the time, would become one of his music students.
Little Johnny has always had a passion for writing music and over the course of four years since his last album, he was inspired to write once again. He set out to create a danceable album that would highlight the roots of Son Montuno, Guaracha Mambo, and Latin jazz.
The only thing missing was a singer. In a rehearsal, his friend and colleague Jeffery Lopez mentioned that there was a talented “new guy” on the block. He came down, and here he was, Anthony Almonte from Kennedy HS. As they say “the rest is history” and the result of their collaboration is Little Johnny’s latest album, Golpe Duro.
Website: Little Johnny Rivero
Article of Interest: Eddie Palmieri: A Memorable Career