Uprising Music (Ropeadope)
Multi-Grammy Award winning pianist and music legend Eddie Palmieri delivers a new album of Salsa classics, expanded and refreshed, at the age of 81. These eight tracks feature many of his long-term band members and some of the best players in New York and beyond. They include trumpeter Brian Lynch, trombonist Conrad Herwig, percussionist “Little” Johnny Rivero, bassist Luques Curtis, and many more playing fresh renditions of Salsa classics, with ample opportunity to stretch out in solos. Palmieri explores freely around the basic harmonic and rhythmic structures of the pieces, sometimes at mind-blowing tempos.
Core jazz fans are certainly familiar with Palmieri but rock, blues, and roots enthusiasts should take note. Fans of bands like Santana or Los Lobos, albeit more Mexican influenced, can find joy in these rhythms, the amazing percussion, and the dazzling horn arrangements and solos. If you’ve never listened to Palmieri, an icon of this music, it’s not too late to start. Most tracks feature a core band of 13 musicians including two vocalists, two trombones, a trumpet, alto sax, and array of percussion instruments. The band expands to 25, including the addition of four trombones, two trumpets, three tenor saxes and a baritone sax on the closing track, “Vamonis Pa’l Monte,” a big band version of the opening track.
You’ll smile and won’t be able to sit still while listening to this lively set from these masters. You’ll also begin to understand why Palmieri is so highly regarded as an innovator who has amassed some of music’s most prestigious awards including the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Science Lifetime Achievement Award. Palmieri is generally credited as ‘the” musician that married Latin music with American jazz forms as you’ll hear in these selections, especially in the horn solos. He shunned convention by using a front line of trombones instead of trumpets in his acclaimed “La Perfecta”” band in ‘60s. His “Acuzar Pa’ Ti,” at eight and half minutes was one of the first recordings added to the Library of Congress that exceeded the standard limit of three and half minutes. These are only two of countless examples. Palmieri, known as “El Maesto,” has collected many honors along the way of breaking down barriers. And, he is still doing it.
He is releasing these Salsa classics in the form of an interactive app which is the world’s first in this genre. Called the Palmieri/Salsa/Jams app, it will reside on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s Stretch Music App platform. It gives musicians the ability to completely control their practicing, listening and learning experience by customizing the player to fit their specific needs and goals. The app has the capability to mute, solo, pan and fade any instrument chosen along with tempo control, looping and sheet music for each part. Once again, Eddie is bridging generations and is also drawing young students to the music with this interactive technology. Hail El Maestro – keep it up!
- Jim Hynes
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