A ten-time Grammy Award winner and 2013 NEA Jazz Master, the charismatic Eddie Palmieri has enjoyed a musical career spanning over 50 years, both as a bandleader of Latin jazz orchestras and as a pianist of dizzying skill and spirit. His long shadow extends through some of Latin music’s most revered bands, including La Perfecta and The Fania All Stars. The Los Angeles Times recently called him ”the last of the larger than life giants.’
Born into a musical family (his brother Charlie is a salsa legend in his own right) in Spanish Harlem, Palmieri first came into prominence in the early 60’s with his band La Perfecta, which quickly became a sensation in New York with its unique instrumentation (two trombones and flute in place of trumpets) that became known as ‘the band with the crazy roaring elephants.’ His experimentation continued throughout the 70’s, being one of the first Latin bandleaders to incorporate soul and funk into their salsa/charango style. His love of jazz, especially pianists Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner, also weighed heavily into creating his particular sound.
Palmieri’s musical influence cannot be overstated, as it is recognized as one of the foundations helping to shape and further expand salsa and Latin jazz. In 2010 his Azucar Pa Ti (1965) was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Two years later, he was given the illustrious Jazz Masters Award by the National Endowment for the Arts.