Eddie Palmieri is a living legend of Latin Jazz and Salsa.
He is a ten Grammy-winning Latin Jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader who was recognized as an NEA Jazz Master in 2013.
Eddie is one of the legends who developed Cuban dance music into what we have called Salsa since the 1970s. He connects the Palladium sound of the 1950s, with the Boogaloo of the 1960s, and the Salsa of the 1970s.
When Jazz artists start to study Latin, Eddie Palmieri is the reference that they start listening to. In his 80th year, (2016) Palmieri is still amazing. He is an elder statesman of Latin Jazz who has a lot of stories to tell.
Eddie Palmieri and El Mambo Candy Store
Eddie Palmieri (December 15, 1936, East Harlem) 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
Most of these records are no longer available. However, a lot of the music has been released in new 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)
- Sabiduría (Wisdom) (April 21, 2017)
Eddie Palmieri in NYC 2017 – 2018
Palmieri plays Lehman Center in Jerome Park, The Bronx on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 7:30pm.
Palmieri plays the Blue Note in Greenwich Village October 10 – 15, 2017.
The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra plays B.B. King Blues Club in Midtown, Manhattan, Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm. $35 – $40
Palmieri plays Salsa and Latin Jazz at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 7:30 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 Central Park SummerStage on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 12 noon. FREE
Palmieri plays the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 8 pm. From $25
Palmieri & Lalo Rodriguez play Lehman Center in Jerome Park, The Bronx on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 8 pm. $55 – $100
Eddie Palmieri in NYC 2016 – 2017
Palmieri celebrates his 80th birthday with his Afro-Caribbean Jazz Octet at the 92nd Street Y, December 15, 2016 at 7:30pm.
Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra play Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater Friday and Saturday March 3-4, 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 with shows at 8 & 10pm.
Palmieri plays the New York Salsa Festival at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 10, 2017.