William Johnson – Flor de Vida/Flower of Life

William Johnson’s release Flor de Vida/Flower of Life contains a good dose of latin influenced fused smooth jazz. Except for the track “Discovery”, all compositions are originals by percussionist William Johnson. Johnson’s outstanding compositions are sophisticated and lyrical but always with a rich and hard rhythmic foundation. In the track “Conga Duet”, Johnson and Victor Villafañe demonstrate their technical abilities playing the congas with spontaneity and ease. Some of the compositions on the album contain a religious message, like “Rise”, an instrumental interpretation of the miracle of resurrecting a little girl performed by Jesus.

“To the beach” is a family conversation that serves as an intro to the track “Flor” (Flower). Willie Bradley adds some thoughtful trumpet solos on this one, over the dense textures and rhythms of Luis Conte on timbales and William Johnson on congas. Luis Conte also adds the vocals alongside Lasherrie Droughton on the danceable and intense latin rhythms of “Como las flores” (Like the flowers). Kyle Johnson electric guitar and the rock/latin/jazz fusion sound on “Mi Pasión” are reminiscent of Santana. With the distinct clave of afro Cuban music, “Descarga” is an intense track that contains the most impressive solos by William Johnson on congas and Luis Conte on timbales. “Dad’s Song”, a composition that evokes the music of the native Americans, leads to “Heaven’s Rainforest”, a world music-like peaceful piece.

Tracks: Flor De Mi Vida, Discover (Descubrimiento), Conga Duet (interlude), Rise (Talitha Cumi), To The Beach (interlude), Flor, Como las Flores, Mi Pasión, Descarga, Dad’s Song (interlude), Heaven’s Rainforest.

Personnel: William Johnson: Congas, djembe, udio drum, shaker, bongo, cajon, minor percussion; Darrien Peoples: Shakers; Lou Santiago Jr.: Drums; Alberto Salas: Keyboard, piano; Melissa Mayle, Lasherrie Droughon: Vocals; Timmie Raynor III: Electric bass; Michael Parlett: Flutes, drums, shaker, clave; Hans Zermuehlen: Keyboards, Rhodes; Victor Villafañe: Congas, timbales, bells; Luis Conte: Timbales, bells, batá, surdo, vocals; Mark Faine: Upright bass; Willie Bradley: Trumpet; Kyle Johnson: Electric guitar, ebo guitar; Raymond Robinson: Flute, cello, arp.

William Johnson – Website: http://williamjohnsonmusic.com

Label: Cedros Records

Release date: September 2011

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

Wilbert Sostre
Member of the Jazz Journalist Association since 2010. Member of the Ponce International Jazz Festival Commitee. Studied music and guitar, 1985-86. Music studies at the University of Puerto Rico and the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, 1986-1990.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Frank Emilio Flynn · Amor & Piano

The name of the great Cuban composer and pianist Frank Emilio Flynn bears similarities to that of the Brasilian composer and saxophonist Moacir...

Black Atlantic · Ballaké Sissoko & Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

I almost didn’t log into Vimeo at 8 o’clock on Saturday night, March the 27th. It’s not that the programme wasn’t beckoning enough. After...

Mansfarroll · Dizzy el Afrocubano · Homenaje a Dizzy Gillespie

Celebrar a Dizzy Gillespie - el legendario trompetista y hermano gemelo en creatividad del gran Charlie Parker - no es infrecuente, especialmente entre...

Héctor Quintana · Benny Moré Un Siglo Después

En enero del año pasado, 2020, tuve la oportunidad de viajar a La Habana con mi colega, el reconocido escritor y cronista cultural Raul...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Talking Sensorial with Mafalda Minnozzi

Earlier this year – in July to be precise – I critiqued an amazing recording by Mafalda Minnozzi. The album was entitled Sensorial, a...

Tony Succar: Percussionist with a Big Bang Theory

Tony Succar could have been a professional sportsman – a football player to be precise. Two things kept the Peruvian-American from making his...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more