Eddie Palmieri – Mi Luz Mayor (Uprising Music/Ropeadope, 2018)
Mi Luz Mayor (My Greater Light) is dedicated to Iraida, Eddie Palmieri’s late wife, who was the love of his life. The legendary Latin jazz pianist, composer, arranger and band leader selected the music that Palmieri and his wife relished in their youth. The album features musical pieces by various composers and originals by Palmieri.
“Because this music is in her honor, everything from start to finish had to be of the highest caliber and I am proud to say that it is just that,” says Palmieri about Mi Luz Mayor.
Although Eddie Palmieri is well-known as a Latin jazz composer and performer, his music incorporates a rich variety of influences on salsa, Colombian music, Afro-Latin music, Colombian cumbia, rock, Puerto Rican rural music, mambo and romantic boleros.
The list of musicians who participated in Mi Luz Mayor is impressive. In addition to his regular band, Eddie Palmieri invited some of the finest musicians and vocalists in the Latin jazz and salsa scene, hailing from the US, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Three special guests appear on Mi Luz Mayor, Puerto Rican salsa and bolero star Gilberto Santa Rosa on vocals; famed Puerto Rican-American salsa singer Hermán Olivera; and the fabulous Carlos Santana on electric guitar, injecting a remarkable solo on Mr. Congo, which makes this piece sound like top of the line Cuban timba.
The lineup on Mi Luz Mayor includes Eddie Palmieri on piano; Luques Curtis on bass; Karl Perazzo on timbales; Camilo Molina on timbales, drums and itótele; Pequeño Johnny Rivero on congas; Anthony Carrillo on bongos, cowbell and iyá; Nelson González on tres; Gabriel Lugo on okónkolo; Jerry Medina on backing vocals ; Juan Pablo Díaz on backing vocals; Brian Lynch on trumpet; Jonathan Powell on trumpet; John Walsh on trumpet; Pete Nater on trumpet; Chris Rogers on trumpet; Conrad Herwig on trombone; Jimmy Bosch on trombone; Joe Fiedler on trombone; Chris Washburne on trombone; Doug Beavers on trombone; Tokinori Kajiwara on trombone; Louis Fouché on alto saxophone; Yosvany Terry on alto saxophone; Ralph Moore on alto saxophone; Ivan Renta on tenor saxophone; Craig Handy on tenor saxophone; Jeremy Powell on tenor saxophone; Gary Smulyan on baritone saxophone; and Ronnie Cuber on baritone saxophone.
Special guests: Giberto Santa Rosa on lead and backing vocals; Carlos Santana on electric guitar; and Hermán Olivera on lead vocals.
Mi Luz Mayor features exceptionally good, timelessly crafted Latin big band songs by one of the brightest Latin Jazz artists of our time.
Eddie Palmieri’s musical career spans several decades as a bandleader of salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His discography includes over 30 albums and various Grammy Awards.
Born in Spanish Harlem (New York city) in 1936, Palmieri began piano studies at an early age, as did his celebrated older brother, the late salsa legend and pianist Charlie Palmieri. For Hispanic New Yorkers of Eddie’s generation, music was a vehicle out of the barrio. At age 11, he made his classical debut at 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 the 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 1950s with Eddie Forrester’s Orchestra. In 1955 he joined Johnny Segui’s band. He spent a year with the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra before forming his own band, the legendary Conjunto La Perfecta in 1961. La Perfecta featured a trombone section (led by the late Barry Rogers) in place of trumpets, something that had been rarely done in Latin music, and which demonstrated the early stages of Palmieri’s unconventional means of orchestration. They were known as “the band with the crazy roaring elephants” for the configuration of two trombones, flute, percussion, bass and vocalist. With an infectious and soaring sound, Palmieri’s band soon joined the ranks of Machito, Tito Rodriguez, and the other major Latin orchestras of the day.
Palmieri’s influences include not only his older brother Charlie but Jesus Lopez, Chapotin, Lili Martinez and other Cuban players of the 1940s and jazz legends Art Tatum, Bobby Timmons, Bill Evans, Horace Silver, Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. Equally important were influences derived from Palmieri’s curiosity and incessant search to unearth his family’s roots and seek out the origins of the music that profoundly inspired him.
“In Cuba, there was a development and crystallization of rhythmical patterns that have excited people for years,” said Palmieri. “Cuban music provides the fundamental from which I never move. Whatever has to be built must be built from there. It’s that cross-cultural effect that makes magnificent music.” His solid interpretation of Afro-Caribbean music and its confluence with jazz is evident in Eddie Palmieri’s astute arranging skills, which assemble those components in dramatic and compelling compositions.
His accomplishments have taken him through Europe, Japan and Latin America, showcasing his assemblage of seasoned musicians and kaleidoscope of musical styles. He served as a consultant to Paul Simon on his 1990 release Rhythm of the Saints and in 1993 was appointed to the board of governors of the New York chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science. As a member of the New York chapter, Palmieri was instrumental in creating a new category for Latin Jazz in 1995.
On his first salsa album in eleven years, El Rumbero del Piano, Palmieri returned to his roots as leader of one of Latin music’s most phenomenal dance bands. Accompanied by the finest musicians of New York and Puerto Rico, Palmieri presented a sensational combination of salsa, bomba, plena, son montuno and jazz. El Rumbero del Piano is a spectrum of memorable and danceable music in nine outstanding tracks, featuring vocals by Wichy Camacho and Herman Olivera, two of Latin music’s most inspiring singers.
In his modern version of Arsenio Rodriguez’s classic “Oigan mi Guaguanco ” Palmieri pays tribute to Rodriguez, the great Cuban tres player, one of the founding fathers of today’s tropical music. Puerto Rican customs and culture are the centerpiece of the bomba tune “El Dueño Monte” in which the vocalists pay tribute to other legendary figures of Puerto Rico’s folk music, including singer Ismael Rivera and the musicians of the Cepeda family.
In “Donde Esta mi Negra” Palmieri gives new life to a genre known as “the people’s newspaper”—the plena. This is the first plena Palmieri has composed and arranged. Another treat is a salsa version of “La Malagueña Salerosa” composed by Pedro Galindo and Elpidio Ramírez. The final track, “Para que Escuchen” is pure Palmieri, urging listeners to hear the talking drum.
On his exuberant Concord Picante debut, La Perfecta II, Eddie Palmieri took a salsified, mambo-rific trip down memory lane and bought an updated twist of his famed 1960s ensemble to a whole new generation of Latin music lovers.
Now that Tito Puente is gone, Palmieri accepts the passing of the Latin music leader baton and is happy to consider himself a Latin jazz ambassador to the world.
“Tito helped extend this music to all parts of the world, and as long as I am still healthy and energetic, I will continue to record and tour to keep this wonderful legacy alive,” says Palmieri. “The rhythms continue to excite because they keep evolving, just as they did when the African captives who started them were taken to the Caribbean. It’s a matter of finding new ways to utilize these complicated patterns and then create exciting new arrangements for my ensemble.”
“We’ve been together for many years and work like a good baseball team,” adds Palmieri of his band. “What matters is how we take care of specific synchronizations, and a lot of that takes place first in my head. The structure is there, and I look at it sometimes as a mathematical equation. But then, it must translate to emotion, and that’s where the reaction of the audience comes in.” He jokes about choosing the title of his 2003 album, “I like the sound of Ritmo Caliente on Concord Picante. It is hot and spicy, like the music.” On the CD, Palmieri combines hard core salsa and hard Latin jazz with his classical and chamber string influences. “Concord has been wonderful in offering me this ability to keep taking musical risks,” he said.
In 2005, Palmieri received a series of prestigious awards: he received the Alice Tully African Heritage Award from City College, received the Harlem Renaissance Award and was inducted into both the Bronx Walk of Fame and the Chicago Walk of Fame. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Urban Latino Magazine. He acted as Godfather of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City and received the EL Award from El Diario Newspaper. Yet another outstanding achievement that year was the debut of “Caliente ” a radio show hosted by Mr. Palmieri on National Public Radio, making him the first Latino ever to do so. The show has been a tremendous success, being picked up by more than 16 radio stations nationwide.
In 2006, Palmieri’s Listen Here! won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. Simpático, released in 2007, a collaborative effort with trumpet master Brian Lynch, won the 2007 Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. Simpático was also recognized by the Jazz Journalist Association as Best Latin Jazz Album that same year.
Awards and accolades
Eddie Palmieri received his first Grammy Award in 1975 for his release The Sun of Latin Music, which is often considered the most historic, as it was the first time Latin Music was recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).
Palmieri was awarded the Eubie Blake Award by Dr. Billy Taylor in 1991 and is among the few Hispanic musicians recognized by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico and the New York State Assembly. In 1988, the Smithsonian Institution recorded two of Palmieri’s performances for their catalog of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., a rare public honor.
The 1998 Heineken Jazz Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, paid tribute to his contributions as a bandleader, bestowing him an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.
Palmieri remains a powerhouse of brilliance and sound that has stirred audiences for more than 3 decades years, continually and successfully seeking to captivate and elevate the senses, and taking them down paths of intensity to a place where there are no musical boundaries.
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.
Musician, composer and band leader Eddie Palmieri celebrated his 50th anniversary with a live concert filmed at the Bushnell Memorial Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. Palmieri is a legendary figure in salsa and Latin jazz. The video, which is now available, is titled Eddie Palmieri – 50th Year Anniversary DVD.
For this occasion, Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra performed many of his greatest hits. The DVD combines live pieces with interview segments, where Palmieri talks about his musical influences and evolution.
The superb band featured on the DVD includes maestro Eddie Palmieri on piano, Herman Olivera on lead vocals, Brian Lynch on trumpet, Richie Viruet on trumpet, Phillip Dizack on trumpet, Conrad Herwig on trombone, Jimmy Bosch on trombone, Nelson Gonzalez on tres guitar and vocals, Jose Claussell on timbales, Vicente “Little Johnny” Rivero on congas, Luques Curtis on bass, Orlando Vega on bongo, Joseph Quique Gonzalez on backup vocals, and Julio Salgado on backup vocals and maracas.
Eddie Palmieri – 50th Year Anniversary DVD showcases salsa and Latin jazz of the highest caliber.
On October 1, 2011 Eddie Palmieri will be headlining a concert in support of the Los Padres Foundation ’s College Tuition and Assistance (CTA) Program at 8:00 pm at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts. The program was created for Puerto Rican/Hispanic high school students in the New York City/New Jersey metropolitan area who are interested in pursuing a post-secondary education. Lehman College is located at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. in the Bronx. http://lehmancenter.org/buytickets.html
Eddie Palmieri and his Latin Jazz Band will perform at the Wisconsin Union Theater on Friday, November 5th, 2010, at 8pm as part of the Isthmus Jazz Series.
Nine-time Grammy winner Eddie Palmieri has been a staple in Latin Jazz since his first win in 1975. Known for bold innovation as well as a charisma that resonates strongly onstage, the Puerto Rican-American pianist and band leader is rarely seen without a smile. He brings this joy to his playing, producing a Latin groove that has made him one of the most celebrated Latin Jazz musicians performing today.
Palmieri’s album “Azucar Pa Ti” (1965) was recently accepted into the Library of Congress as a culturally significant recording worthy of preservation. In addition, his Grammy winning album “The Sun of Latin Music” was the first Latin music recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).
The ensemble features trumpet player Bryan Lynch, originally from Milwaukee and a Grammy award winner himself, Yosvany Terry (alto saxophone), Jose Claussell (timbales), Little Johnny Rivero (congas), Orlando Vega (bongo) and Luques Curtis (bass).
This performance is sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Performing Arts Committee with support from Isthmus weekly, and is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Other sponsors include ETC, Capital City Hues, Wisconsin Public Radio, and WORT 89.9 FM.
Tickets are $36/$32/$20 for the general public. As always, tickets for UW-Madison Students are only $10 with valid ID. Call the Box Office at 608-265-ARTS (2787), fax your order at 608-265-5084, buy online here, or purchase in person at the Campus Arts Ticketing box office in Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St. or Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.
The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle presents for six nights, Grammy-winning Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri. Band members are Eddie Palmieri (piano), Conrad Herwig (trombone), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Vincent “Little Johnny” Rivero (congas) Orlando Vega (bongo), Yosvany Terry (alto saxophone), José Claussell (timbales), and Luques Curtis (bass). Set times Tuesday and Wednesday are at 7:30PM, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30PM and 9:30PM and Sunday at 7:30PM. Doors open at 6PM Tuesday and 5:30PM Wednesday – Sunday.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded Eddie Palmieri’s latest release, following results for Simpatico, the 2007 Grammy in the “Best Latin Jazz Album” category. Simpatico is a collaboration with trumpet master Brian Lynch. This is Eddie Palmieri’s 9th Grammy in a career that spans over 50 years and was awarded on February 11, 2007 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In addition, The Jazz Journalists Association awarded the 2007 Jazz Award for”Latin Jazz Album of Year” to Simpatico.
As a bandleader of salsa and Latin jazz orchestras his discography includes more than 32 titles. He has been awarded nine Grammy’s, including the first presentation in the Best Latin Album category for his 1975 release The Sun of Latin Music, and the following year for Unfinished Masterpiece. Palo Pa’ Rumba won in 1984, Solito in 1985, and La Verdad – The Truth in 1987. He received two Grammy’s for his 2000 release with Tito Puente Obra Maestra /Masterpiece, one from the traditional Grammy awards, and one from the Latin Grammy’s.
The world has long admired the Harlem-born Palmieri as one of the foremost Latin pianists of the last half-century. His ability to fuse the rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage with the jazz influences of Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner made him an immediate hit when he played New York’s Palladium Ballroom in the 1950s and ’60s. He has continued to roll on with stylistic innovations over the years, creating classic Tico albums and later mixing salsa with R&B, pop, rock, Spanish vocals and more jazz improvisation.
March 25 – 30, 2008
FROM: The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
2033 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98121
COST: $24.50 – 26.50
New York (New York), USA – Producers George Wein and Ralph have put together one fiery night of Latin music at the 2005 JVC Jazz Festival – New York on Saturday, June 25, at 8:00 p. m. at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and 7th Avenue. Salsa Meets Jazz stars Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta II featuring Herman Olivera and The 2 Worlds of Ray Barretto featuring Adalberto Santiago with special guest jazz soloists Randy Brecker and Ronnie Cuber.
The Harlem-born, seven-time Grammy winning Eddie Palmieri has been lauded as one of the foremost Latin pianists of the last half-century. In fact, this year marks his 50th anniversary in the music business. His ability to fuse the rhythms of his Hispanic heritage with straight-ahead jazz influences made him an immediate hit at the famed Palladium Ballroom in the 50s and 60s. He continued to offer up innovative music over the years, creating classic Tico albums and later mixing salsa with R & B, pop, rock, Spanish vocals and jazz improvisation. The bandleader/pianist takes “a salsified, mambo-rific trip down memory lane” with his Concord Picante releases La Perfecta II and Ritmo Caliente. The albums bring an updated twist to the renowned 1960s ensemble while glorifying the spirit of La Perfecta with deeper excursions into Latin forms. He began playing piano and drums at age eight and studied classical piano, and his early love for classical music shines creatively throughout his work.
In 2001, singer Herman Olivera received long overdue props as featured vocalist on three tracks of the Grammy-winning CD, Masterpiece/Obra Maestra (RMM) by Palmieri and Tito Puente. With a smooth resonate high tenor voice, the self-taught vocalist has contributed great interpretations and improvisations to numerous tunes and his stints with Palmieri and the Machito Orchestra have helped him become a world-class salsa singer.
In the early 50s, young Ray Barretto was playing his congas at the renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem; and when he walked out later that night, he had impressed and performed with the legendary Charlie Parker. Since that evening of cubop, a mixture of bop and Latin rhythms, he has become a leading force in two worlds, Latin music and jazz. Unlike most Latino percussionists, he came to
Latin music from jazz, instead of from Latin music to jazz. He attributes this musical path to his originality and believes it’s one of the reasons why he has been sought after by so many legends of jazz. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, Lou Donaldson, Roy Haynes, Donald Byrd, Max Roach and other jazz greats. While leading his own stellar Latin jazz bands, his congas
have graced more recording sessions than any other conguero. His latest CD, Time was – Time is, is soon to be released.
No doubt before the night is up, fans will hear Adalberto Santiago proclaim Que Viva La Música Nuestra! (May Latin Music Live On!). Born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, he was influenced and inspired by the vocal styles of Beny Moré, Chapottin, Pancho Alonso and Miguelito Cuni. These free-style singers helped him form a method of singing that has turned him into one of the most popular vocalists of Latin music. He became the lead vocalist for Barretto’s Orchestra in 1966 and captivated audiences with a string of hits. Once nicknamed “The Puerto Rican Elvis Presley,” he will easily do his part to make sure the music lives on.
Randy Brecker has been helping to shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than three decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn have been heard on hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists including James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Parliament-Funkadelic, Horace Silver, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Frank Sinatra, David Sanborn and Jaco Pastorious. He and his brother Michael formed the Brecker Brothers, one of the most innovative and successful jazz-funk fusion group of all times. He is currently co-leading Soulbop, a new electric jazz band with saxophonist Bill Evans
Ronnie Cuber, born December 25, 1941, in Brooklyn, has been composing, arranging and leading his own groups since 1959. He is acknowledged to be one of the greats among baritone saxophonists, with a sound that is an amalgam of straight-ahead jazz, hard bop, soul, R& B, and Latin. He performs regularly with the Mingus Big Band, created the Baritone Saxophone Band Tribute to Gerry
Mulligan and has spent summers touring with blues artist Dr. John, for whose band he has written numerous large horn section arrangements for tour and television performances.
The concert is produced in association with RMP Productions and is in honor of Art D’Lugoff, creator of the Salsa Meets Jazz nights at the Village Gate, and in memory of promoter Jack Hooke.
Additional support for the JVC Jazz Festival – New York is provided by NYC & Co, Macy’s and media partners, The Village Voice, BET Jazz and Jazz 88/WBGO-FM.
The Buckingham Hotel, located at 101 West 57th Street at Sixth Avenue, is the official host hotel of the JVC Jazz Festival – New York. For the special rate, call (888) 511-1900 and ask for the JVC Jazz Festival Room Block.
Tickets for SALSA MEETS JAZZ are available at Carnegie Hall Box Office; CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800; or www.CarnegieHall.org. For more information and a Festival brochure, call (212) 501-1390 or (212) 501-1393 for Group Sales weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. or write JVC Jazz Festival – New York, P.O. Box 1169, Ansonia Station, New York, NY 10023.
JVC, sponsor of JVC Jazz Festivals worldwide since 1984, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high quality audio and video products.
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