The Wisdom of Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri – Sabiduría (Ropeadope, 2017)

Award-winning pianist and composer Eddie Palmieri, who’s one of the greatest names in Latin jazz, showcases his wide-ranging musical talent on Sabiduría (wisdom in Spanish). Along with his band of Latin music masters, Palmieri has invited an impressive cast of jazz musicians to perform on his album.

This is not a smooth Latin jazz album. While there is certainly a rich Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican rhythmic and melodic foundation, Sabiduría presents plenty of jazz improvisation.

The album opens with a strong Cuban flavor, highlighting acclaimed Cuban violinist Alfredo de la Fe on “Cuerdas y Tumbao” and the Afro-Cuban batá drums of Xavier Rivera and Camilo Molina on “Wise Bata Blues.”

On the title track “Sabiduria” Palmieri keeps the Caribbean Latin rhythm section, but this time he ventures into fiery funk jazz featuring stellar work by bassist Marcus Miller and guitarist David Spinozza.

“La Cancha” is a mambo where Palmieri treats the listener to superb interplay between Joe Locke’s vibraphone and Alfredo de la Fe’s violin.

The Caribbean connection is always present in New Orleans. On “Augustine Parish” the saxophone takes the lead, featuring New Orleans horn player Donald Harrison.

Eddie Palmieri takes a break from the full ensemble format, delivering a mesmerizing solo piano performance titled “Life.”

“Samba Do Suenho” introduces Brazilian rhythms into the mix. Locke is back with his exquisite vibraphone, dancing with the piano and bass.

On “Spinal Volt” Palmieri returns to the Afro-Cuban theme with a Latin jazz orchestra showcasing percussion, horns and Palmieri’s incomparable piano.

“The Uprising” celebrates New Orleans carnival tradition with Mardi Gras Indians vocals, wild horn solos and the fabulous rhythm section.

On the Afro-Cuban composition “Coast To Coast,” Ronnie Cuber delivers an extended baritone saxophone solo, followed by Luques Curtis’ excellent bass solo.

“Locked In” highlights interaction between the piano, vibraphone and bass.

The last piece, “Jibarita y su son” has mysterious feel, starting with electronic keyboards, bass and layers of drums that leads into more familiar territory, with Palmieri mixing classical and Latin piano, presenting a tasty danzón.

The album lineup includes on Eddie Palmieri on piano; Joe Locke on vibraphone; Anthony Carrillo on bongos, cowbell; Little Johnny Rivero on conga; Luis Quintero on timbales; Luques Curtis on bass; Obed Calvaire on drums; Iwao Sado on batá drums; Bernard Purdie on drums; Ronnie Cuber on saxophone; Donald Harrison on saxophone, vocals; Alfredo de la Fe on violin; Marcus Miller on bass; David Spinozza on electric guitar; Camilo Molina on drums, batá drums, timbales; Xavier Rivera on batá drums; Jonathan Walsh on trumpet; Jeremy Powell on saxophone; Jonathan Powell on trumpet; and Louis Fouche on saxophone.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.


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