The Palmieri family’s El Mambo bodega in The South Bronx was a hub for a bunch of kids, including his brother Charlie Palmieri, who became famous Latin musicians. Eddie listened to Cuban music on the radio and ran the juke box.
When he was 11, Eddie played a classical music recital at Carnegie Hall.
In 1961, Eddie changed Latin music by putting trombones on the front line of his band La Perfecta. In the 1970s, his Harlem River Drive was part of the Boogaloo music movement that remixed Black and Latin soul.
He just keeps on going and is now one of the padrinos (godfathers) of Latin music in New York City.
Eddie Palmieri in New York City
Palmieri lives here. He’s around and plays a lot.
Palmieri plays Kupferberg Center at Queens College in Flushing, Queens on Sat, Nov 20, 2021 at 7pm & 9pm. From $35. This show is rescheduled from the April 25, 2020 and May 8, 2021 shows cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We got the blues
I’ll never forget what Eddie Palmieri told the audience one night at the 92nd Street Y, just down the street from El Barrio. He said, “The Spaniard brought the African. The African put everyone to dance. In the States, they took away the drum, and we got the blues.”
That is how we got Latin music and the blues, which is the root of all American music of the United States. The root of it all is African.
Eddie Palmieri is a Living Legend of Puerto Rican Salsa and Latin Jazz
Eddie Palmieri is a Latin jazz and salsa legend. He’s been at the center of Latin music since he was a kid playing records on the jukebox at his dad’s El Mambo candy store in The Bronx.
Palmieri is a ten Grammy-winning Latin Jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader who was recognized as an NEA Jazz Master in 2013. Eddie and his older brother Charlie Palmieri are two of the legends who developed Cuban dance music into what we have called “Salsa” since the 1970s. Palmieri connects the Palladium sound of the 1950s, with the Boogaloo of the 1960s, and the Salsa of the 1970s. He still performs several times a year around New York.
When Jazz artists start to study Latin, Palmieri is the reference that they start listening to. He is an elder statesman of Latin Jazz who has a lot of stories to tell.
Past New York Shows
Palmieri plays in New York City a lot.
Palmieri, Tito Nieves and Arturo O’Farrill play a “Salsa Meets Jazz” concert at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on Sat, Sep 25 at 8pm. From $29 🇨🇺🇵🇷
Palmieri plays the Blue Note in Greenwich Village on Tuesday-Wednesday, August 31 – September 1, 2021 at 8pm (6pm doors). Seating first come, first seated from $30
December 19 & 26, 2020 ~ Palmieri celebrates his 84th birthday with a pair of special dinners at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village at 6pm and 8pm (Doors 4:30pm and 7:30pm).
The Blue Note (and other presenters) are getting around New York City’s ban on shows by calling it dinner with “incidental” background music. That’s some background music. Eddie’s shows sell out, so hurry!
These shows were cancelled when the city shut down indoor dining for COVID.
Saturday, September 21, 2019 ~ Palmieri and Dominican jazz pianist Michel Camilo play a double header at Lehman Center in Jerome Park, The Bronx at 8pm. From $45
The East River Park Amphitheater is sacred ground for Hip-Hop. ¡WEPA!
Palmieri reopens El Museo’s beautiful theater, El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, Manhattan on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7:30pm. From $45
Palmieri celebrates the release of his latest album Mi Luz Mayor at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Tuesday-Sunday, January 15-20, 2019.
Palmieri & Lalo Rodriguez tribute Charlie Palmieri at Lehman Center in Jerome Park, The Bronx on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 8 pm. $55 – $100
Palmieri is a special guest with the Christian McBride Big Band at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 8 pm. From $25
Palmieri tributes McCoy Tyner at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village, Manhattan on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 8 pm & 10:30 pm. From $30
Palmieri plays Central Park SummerStage on Sunday, August 26, 2018 from 6 – 10 pm. Doors at 5 pm. FREE
The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra plays the Blue Note Jazz Festival at Sony Hall in Midtown, Manhattan on June 14, 2018 at 8 pm. $45 – $79.50
Palmieri plays B.B. King Blues Club’s closing week with El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
Palmieri plays Salsa and Latin Jazz at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm. Free
Palmieri plays the New York Salsa Festival at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 10, 2017.
Palmieri celebrates the April 21st release of his latest album Sabiduría by playing a stretch of Monday nights at Subrosa in the Meatpacking District, April 17 – May 29, 2017 with shows at 8 & 10pm.
Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra play Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater Friday and Saturday March 3-4, 2017.
Palmieri celebrates his 80th birthday with his Afro-Caribbean Jazz Octet at the 92nd Street Y, December 15, 2016 at 7:30pm.
El Mambo Candy Store
Eduardo “Eddie” Palmieri was born in El Barrio on December 15, 1936. He grew up in a musical New York Puerto Rican family in the South Bronx. Eddie’s older brother was Latin piano legend Charlie Palmieri.
In the 1940s, their father owned a candy store. It was called “El Mambo.” The neighborhood kids would play stickball all day, then hang out at El Mambo to listen and dance to the jukebox. Eddie ran that jukebox. A lot of those kids grew up to become the musicians who created what we now call Salsa. They were the artists who took the music coming out of Cuba and jazzed it up with what was going on around them in New York City.
By the 1950s, what was going on was Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Dizzy Gillespie and all the legendary Jazz being created in Harlem, the Jazz clubs on 52nd Street, and at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village. Eddie grew up right in the middle of this. He played in the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra from 1958-1960.
When Eddie set off on his own in 1961’s conjunto (small band) La Perfecta with singer Ismael Quintana, he replaced the traditional violins with trombones. That gave him a fatter sound and foretold Willie Colón’s trombone heavy FANIA sound of the 1970s.
In 1970 Palmieri began exploring a mix of Latin and Funk with Harlem River Drive. The sound is all Bronx ~ Black and Latin.
Palmieri became the first Latin artist to win a Grammy for “Best Latin Recording” for Sun of Latin Music (1976). He won the next year too with Unfinished Masterpiece (1977).
In 1992, Palmieri introduced singer La India to the Salsa world with Llego la India via Eddie Palmieri (The India has arrived via Eddie Palmieri).
Eddie’s most recent Grammy came from The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project: Simpático which won “Best Latin Jazz Recording” in 2007.
In 2013, Palmieri was recognized as an NEA Jazz Master.
Today Eddie Palmieri is one of the artists Jazz musicians listen to when they begin to explore Latin.
Eddie Palmieri Discography
These are Palmieri’s latest albums.
- Sabiduría (Wisdom) (April 21, 2017)
- Full Circle (2018)
- Mi Luz Mayor with Gilberto Santa Rosa, Hermán Olivera and Carlos Santana (2018)
Many of these records are no longer available. However, a lot of the music has been released on new compilation albums.
- La perfecta (Alegre, 1962)
- El molestoso (Alegre, 1963)
- Lo que traigo es sabroso (Alegre, 1964)
- Echando pa’lante (Straight Ahead) (Tico, 1964)
- Azúcar pa’ ti (Sugar for You) (Tico, 1965)
- Mambo con conga es Mozambique (Tico, 1965)
- El sonido nuevo (The New Soul Sound) (Verve, 1966) – with Cal Tjader
- Bamboléate (Tico, 1967) – with Cal Tjader
- Molasses (Tico, 1967)
- Champagne (Tico, 1968)
- Justicia (Tico, 1969)
- Superimposition (Tico, 1970)
- Vamonos pa’l monte (Tico, 1971)
- In Concert at the University of Puerto Rico (Coco, 1971)
- Harlem River Drive (Roulette, 1971) – with Harlem River Drive
- Recorded Live at Sing Sing Vol. 1 (Tico, 1972) – with Harlem River Drive
- Recorded Live at Sing Sing Vol. 2 (Tico, 1972, released 1974)
- Sentido (Coco/Mango, 1973)
- The Sun of Latin Music (Coco, 1974) – with Lalo Rodríguez
- Unfinished Masterpiece (Coco, 1975)
- Eddie’s Concerto (Tico, 1976)
- Festival 76 (Coco, 1976)
- Lucumí, Macumba, Voodoo (Epic, 1978)
- Eddie Palmieri (Barbaro, 1980)
- Timeless (Coco, 1981)
- Palo pa’ rumba (Musica Latina International, 1984)
- Solito (Musica Latina International, 1985)
- The Truth / La verdad (Fania, 1987)
- Sueño (Intuition, 1989)
- Llegó La India Via Eddie Palmieri (Soho Sounds, 1992) – with La India
- Palmas (Elektra Nonesuch, 1994)
- Arete (RMM, 1995)
- Vortex (1996)
- El rumbero del piano (RMM, 1998)
- Live (1999)
- Masterpiece / Obra maestra (RMM/Universal, 2000) – with Tito Puente
- En vivo Italia (2002)
- La perfecta II (Concord, 2002)
- Ritmo caliente (Concord Picante, 2003)
- Listen Here! (Concord Picante, 2005)
- Simpático (ArtistShare, 2006) – with Brian Lynch
- Sugar Daddy Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfect Orchestra (Codigo Music, 2007)
- Exploration Salsa – Jazz – Descarga (Musical Productions, 2008)
- Masterwork Vamos Pal Monte (Codigo Music, 2009)
- EP Eddie Palmieri (Codigo Music, 2009)
- El Virtuoso (Codigo Music, 2009)
- Palo Pa’ Rumba (Codigo Music, 2009)
- Poinciana (Bacci Bros Records, 2013)
- Eddie Palmieri Is Doin’ It in the Park (Eddie Palmieri, 2013)
- Two Brothers Two Legends (Musical Productions, 2015)
- Vámonos Pa’l Monte / Pa’La Ocha Tambó (Palmieri Music, 2015)
- 60 Años del Maestro (J&N Records, 2016)