an artist some describe as "touched
by the hand of God," plays a major
role in shaping the way the world thinks
of hand drumming.
legendary percussionists such as Armando
and the late Tito
Puente and Josˇ
Mangual, Sr. topping the list of his
most ardent fans, Giovanni is bringing
new respect to Latin rhythms. In particular,
the rhythms of his birthplace, Puerto
Giovanni prides himself on being "a man
of all music," having performed with musicians
ranging from Zakir
Hussain to Airto Moreira. He has toured
with jazz great Art Blakey and continues
to tour with Mickey Hart's Planet Drum.
For several years he was a member of the
Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Jazz Orchestra.
first became popular outside Puerto Rico
in the early '80s with the revolutionary
ensemble Batacumbele, a unit that combined
folkloric and fusion influences with hard-edged
jazz soloing. It was an experience Giovanni
claims "will always be in my heart".
With the release of Batacumbele's first
album, Giovanni's name and amazing hand
drumming techniques became known to musicians
throughout the world.
then numerous opportunities flowed, including
traveling and performing with Charlie
Palmieri, Jack Bruce, Dave Valentin,
D'Rivera, Cameo, Paul Simon, and Art
Blakey's Jazz Messengers. According to
Giovanni, each country has a musical essence,
just as each individual has a musical
style. Giovanni's objective is to capture
these whenever he plays.