Celebrating a musical career that would span over nearly two decades, Edmund Johnny Gomez, a.k.a Johnny Gomez, was a Trinidadian tenor saxophonist. Born to a musical father, Gomez grew up accompanying his father to many musical performances, often sitting on his shoulders whilst playing a a homemade bamboo flute and cuartro. It was at these sessions that he learned how to improvise around of an array of musicians: singers, drummers, percussionists, violinists, and guitar players all of whom played in the Latin style.
Finally settling his interests on the woodwind family of instruments, Johnny Gomez was mentored by many local bandleaders who took him under their wing who taught him both the tenor saxophone and clarinet. From there he moved on to playing in the horn section of the Desmond Durham Band along with another up and coming saxophonist Cyril Diaz.
By the late 1940 and 50s, Johnny Gomez had made a name for himself and, together with his hand-picked band, were to be one of the first groups to record for Aubrey Christopher’s KAY Records. His first and only LP, Nights at the Normandie, was released on Cook Records in 1959 and featured a glorious line-up of top musicians such as trumpeter Eroll Ince, pianist Cecil Reyes, guitarist Carlisle Eversley, alto Frankie Francis, bassist Reynold Millette, and bongo player Martin Albino. There were many singles to follow, but only ever one full-length release.
Madam Sandrine is a nifty little Calypso track that Gomez released as a 45 in 1959. Accompanied by Sweet Man Pablo on the b-side (a track I cannot find to share), this tune is adorned with jubilant horn melodies and golden sections of sinuous musical meanderings. This sound makes me feel happy, and for that I love its ability to connect on such a fundamental level…this is a little bundle of joy for sure! Check it out above and if you fancy grabbing yourself a copy, you can do that here – Afro Ritmo Records re-issued this track in 2017!
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