Percussionist Vicente “Little Johnny” Rivero has had a fruitful career, but his recorded legacy is sparse. He released his debut, 2006’s Pasos Gigantes (Rhumba Jams) , after serving as the driving rhythmic force behind La Sonora Ponceña, one of Puerto Rico’s most legendary salsa aggregations, for more than 15 years. Now, 10 years later, he has issued his second recording under his own name. The overall theme is laudatory; several of these pieces praise role models and mentors, and at least two, “Africa My Land” and “Afro-Rykan Thoughts,” pay homage to this music’s diasporan cultural roots. Rivero’s core sextet is augmented by no fewer than nine special guests, and his liner notes cite influences ranging from Machito and Eddie Palmieri through Art Blakey and Tony Bennett.
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