EDDIE PALMIERI SALSA ORCHESTRA – LATIN JAZZ SEPTET
National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2013 NEA Jazz Masters, Nation's Highest Honor in Jazz to Music Icon Eddie Palmieri Celebrating 75 Years
Eddie Palmieri, known for his charismatic power and bold innovative drive, has a musical career that spans over 50 years as a bandleader of Salsa and Latin Jazz orchestras. With a discography that includes 36 titles, Mr. Palmieri has been awarded Nine Grammy Awards.
Born in Spanish Harlem in 1936, Eddie began piano studies at an early age, as did his celebrated older brother, the late Salsa legend and pianist, Charlie Palmieri. For Latin New Yorkers of Eddie's generation, music was a vehicle out of El Barrio. At age 11, he auditioned at Weil Recital Hall, which is next door to Carnegie Hall, a venue as far from the Bronx as he could imagine. Possessed by a desire to play the drums, Palmieri joined his uncle's orchestra at age 13, where he played timbales. Says Palmieri, “By 15, it was good-bye timbales and back to the piano until this day. I'm a frustrated percussionist, so I take it out on the piano.”
He began his professional career as a pianist in the early '50s with Eddie Forrester's Orchestra. In 1955 he joined Johnny Segui's band. He also spent a year with the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra before forming his own band, the legendary “La Perfecta” in 1961. La Perfecta was unique in that it featured a trombone section (led by the late Barry Rogers) in place of trumpets, something that had been rarely done in Latin music, demonstrating the early stages of Palmieri's unconventional means of orchestration. They were known as “the band with the crazy roaring elephants” because of this configuration of two trombones, flute, percussion, bass and a vocalist. With an infectious sound, Palmieri's band soon joined the ranks of Machito, Tito Rodriguez and other major Latin orchestras of the day. His unconventional style would once again surprise critics and his fans with the 1970 release entitled Harlem River Drive. This recording was the first to really merge black and latin styles (and musicians), resulting in a free-form sound encompassing elements of salsa, funk, soul and jazz. What resulted was a fusion that moved effortlessly from mood, groove, texture and excitement with its multi-dimensional guitar, funky piano riffs, notable brass and unforgettable rhythm section. Led by Eddie, the group also included his brother Charlie, as well as excellent players from both communities such as Victor Venegas, Andy Gonzales, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and Ronnie Cuber. Further to this proclivity for creating and performing in funk latin style, in 1997 he was invited to record by Little Louie Vega in “Nuyorican Soul,” a release which has been a huge hit with dancers and dj's in the house music genre.
Palmieri's influences include not only his older brother Charlie but also Jesus Lopez, Lili Martinez and other Cuban players of the 1940s; jazz luminaries Art Tatum, Bobby Timmons, Bill Evans, Horace Silver, Bud Powell and McCoy Tyner. Says Palmieri, “In Cuba, there was a development and crystallization of rhythmical patterns that have excited people for years. Cuban music provides the fundamental from which I never move. Whatever has to be built must be built from there. It's a cross-cultural effect that makes magnificent music.”
Eddie Palmieri, a restless, yet instinctive artist, embraces the future of his music by unapologetically blazing a distinctive musical path to the delight of fans across the globe. A true powerhouse of brilliance, known for his astute arranging skills and historic compositions, Mr. Palmieri has shown that time is infinite with respect to his repertoire as he continues to thrill audiences throughout the world with his legendary style.
Group Format: Salsa Orchestra – Septet – Quartet with Brian Lynch
- Symphony Charts