Johnny was born in New York City in 1957,
to Puerto Rican parents. As a young boy,
Little Johnny was drawn to the sounds and
rhythms of the conga players from Jefferson
Park and Randall's Island Park. Little
Johnny began practicing percussion at age
ten and played in the school band. Soon
after, he took dance lessons and performed
on stage with the best bands of the era
at such famous venues as The Manhattan Center,
The Colgate Garden and The Copacabana.
At age fourteen, Little Johnny joined Orchestra
Colon, the youngest Latin band in New York
City, and recorded two albums with them.
In 1973, he moved to Puerto Rico with his
parents, and joined La Sonora Poncena in
1974. After playing bongos with them for
a year and a half, he switched to congas,
which rekindled the love affair he had begun
with the instrument as a small child. Little
Johnny attributes the rhythms and professional
conduct he learned from Quique Lucca and
his son Papo Lucca, at this time, as the
qualities that have made him what he is
today. During the sixteen years Little Johnny
played with Sonora Poncena, he traveled
the world and made sixteen highly respected
Latin albums with them.
Little Johnny's other credits include
work with Bobby Valentin, Celia Cruz, Charlie
Palmieri, Dave Valentin, Tito
Puente, Lucecita Benitez and numerous
other artists. He also performed in Europe
with the RMM All-Stars Band, directed by
Sergio George, and recorded with such producers
as Cuto Soto, Ramon Sanchez, Cuco Pena and
many others. In May 1997, Little Johnny
shared the stage with his inspiration and
Little Johnny is currently teaching percussion at John F. Kennedy High School in Bronx, NY.
When not teaching, he is recording with the top artists in the greater NY Metro area.
Little Johnny is currently working with the Bebo Valdes Cuban Big Orchestra.