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N.Y. Encyclopedia of Famous Puerto Ricans    


Eddie Palmeri

    Born on 15 December 1936, in the South Bronx section of New York City of Puerto Rican parents, Eddie Palmieri grew up to become a highly respected and reknown pianist, composer, arranger, producer and band leader. Palmieri began playing the piano at the age of eight. He also played timbales, and wanted to specialize in the instrument, but changed his mind after several gigs with his uncle's group. His avant garde style and unorthodox piano technique developed while playing with a number of bands during the 1950's and such notables such as Tito Rodriguez, while his brother Charlie is considered to be more of a jazz artist.

    Eddie Palmieri's musical career spans 40 years as a bandleader of salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His discography includes more than 30 titles. He has been awarded five Grammys, 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 in 1987. He was awarded the Eubie Blake Award by Dr. Billy Taylor in 1991 and he is among the few Latin 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, PR, paid tribute to his contributions as a bandleader, bestowing him an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music. As a member of the New York chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, he was instrumental in creating a new category for Latin Jazz in 1995. His 1994 album, Palmas, was among the nominees for the first award presented in that category in March 1995. In 1996, he was once again nominated for his album Arete.

    Born in Spanish Harlem 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 Latin 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 '50s 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 luminaries 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. Says Palmieri, "In Cuba, there was a development and crystallization of rhythmical patterns that have excited people for years. 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.
The visionary maestro of Latin music is back with his first salsa album in eleven years!


    An enigmatic performer, virtuoso pianist and imaginative composer, Palmieri's new production, El Rumbero del Piano, returns 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 presents 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 Dueno 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 Malaguena Salerosa," composed by Pedro Galindo and Elpidio Ramirez. The final track, "Para que Escuchen" is pure Palmieri, urging listeners to hear the talking drum.



Absolutely the Best of Eddie Palmieri (01/28/2003)
Perfecta II (04/23/2002)
Sun of Latin Music (Remastered) (01/08/2002)
Salsa Caliente de Nu York! (01/01/2001)
Best of Eddie Palmieri (08/15/1999)
Rumbero del Piano (08/25/1998)
Jazz Latino, Vol. 1 (03/11/1997)
Vortex (09/24/1996)
Perfecta, Vol. 2 (01/01/1996)
Chocolate Ice Cream (12/19/1995)
Pachanga to Jazz (05/30/1995)
Arete (01/01/1995)
Salsa Meets Jazz (05/01/1994)
Palmas (01/01/1994)
Salsa Brava (12/17/1993)
Palmieri & Tjader (10/22/1993)
History of Eddie Palmieri (12/30/1992)
Music Man (12/30/1992)
Salsa-Jazz-Descarga: Exploration (07/30/1991)
Rey de Las Blancas Y Las Negras (01/01/1991)
Gold (01/01/1990)
Truth: La Verdad (01/01/1987)
EP (01/01/1985)
Solito (01/01/1985)
Palo Pa Rumba, Bajo Con Tumbao (01/01/1984)
Eddie Palmieri (04/01/1982)
Sueño (01/01/1982)
Dia Que Me Quieras (01/01/1981)
Lucumi, Macumba, Voodoo (01/01/1978)
Eddie's Concerto (01/01/1976)
Best of Eddie Palmieri: Lo Mejor de Eddie Palmieri (01/01/1974)
Unfinished Masterpiece (01/01/1974)
Sentido (01/01/1973)
Sun of Latin Music (01/01/1973)
Super Imposition (01/01/1971)
Vamonos Pa'l Monte (01/01/1971)
Justicia (01/01/1970)
Champagne (01/01/1969)
Bamboléate (01/01/1967)
Molasses (01/01/1967)
Sonido Nuevo: The New Soul Sound (10/01/1966)
Mambo con Conga Is Mozambique (01/01/1966)
Azucar Pa'ti (Sugar for You) (01/01/1965)
Mozambique (01/01/1965)
Echando Pa'lante (Straight Ahead) (01/01/1964)
Que Traigo Es Sabroso (01/01/1964)
Molestoso (01/01/1963)
Perfecta (1964)
Verdad: The Truth
Eddie Palmieri and His Conjunto la Perfecta

Live [Video] (08/10/1999)
Live Albums
Live (06/15/1999)
Eddie Palmieri & Friends in Concert at the Univers (01/01/1997)
Timeless (01/01/1997)
Recorded Live at Sing Sing, Vol. 2 (08/01/1972)
Recorded Live at Sing Sing, Vol. 1 (04/01/1972)
At the University of Puerto Rico (01/01/1971)

Pinero (02/05/2002)
Yo Soy del Son A La Salsa (08/26/1997)
Crooklyn, Vol. 2 (01/01/1995)

Also Appears On 102 albums
Mi Ritmo (01/28/2003)
Brown Sugar: Latin Breakbeats (04/23/2002)
Music Is...A Reason to Celebrate (04/23/2002)
Voces del Milenio Salsa (04/16/2002)
Mondo Latino [Ark 21] (03/26/2002)
Carnaval de Exitos (01/15/2002)
Nu Yorican Funk Experience: Further Adventures (01/01/2002)
Saoco! Masters of Afro-Cuban Jazz (07/03/2001)
Latin: The Essential Album (06/26/2001)
Jazz Latino: The Hottest Latin Jazz (06/05/2001)
Jam Session Feeling (06/05/2001)
Freak Off (04/24/2001)
Latin Cool (04/17/2001)
Super Heroe: Vivo (04/03/2001)
Mas Mambo Mania: More Kings and Queens of Mambo (02/20/2001)
Grammy Latin Nominees 2001 (02/13/2001)
Latin Legends (01/01/2001)
Ache (10/03/2000)
Latin Beat Magazine -- Real Latin Jazz: Percussion, Piano & Strings (08/29/2000)
Stop & Listen, Vol. 5 (07/25/2000)
Congreso Nacional de la Salsa (06/27/2000)
Por Fin (Finally) (06/20/2000)
Putumayo Presents: Puerto Rico (05/23/2000)
Latin Cool: Essential Latin Jazz (04/25/2000)
Son de Cuba [] (02/15/2000)
Golden Drops (01/01/2000)
Latin Affair, Pt. 1 (01/01/2000)
Ivory Masters: Piano with Attitude (10/19/1999)
Visions of Music: World Jazz (09/21/1999)
Royalty of Salsa (09/21/1999)
New York Barrio Beats (08/15/1999)
Too Hot Salsa (07/27/1999)
Americanos: Latino Life in the United States (04/20/1999)
Free to Be (02/09/1999)
Mas Ritmo Latino (01/26/1999)
Son De Cuba [Globe] (01/01/1999)
Mega Caraibes (12/15/1998)
Cuba: Por la Musica Siempre (11/24/1998)
Uno Dos Tres: Latin Jazz Grooves (11/03/1998)
Holding up Half the Sky: Voices of Latin Women (10/20/1998)
Coleccion Estelar de Latin Jazz (09/29/1998)
Planete Caraibe [Box] (05/26/1998)
Romantic Latin Jazz: The Best of the 70's (05/19/1998)
Tjader-ized: A Cal Tjader Tribute (05/19/1998)
Sabroso: The Afro-Latin Groove (03/17/1998)
Best of the World (01/09/1998)
Maxi Salsa (12/16/1997)
RMM 10th Anniversary Collection, Vol. 9 (09/23/1997)
Nu Yorica 2!: Further Adventures in Latin Music Chango in the New World (09/01/1997)
RMM 10th Anniversary Collection, Vol. 6 (07/15/1997)
RMM 10th Anniversary Collection, Vol. 1 (05/20/1997)
Experimental Latin Jazz: Best of the '70s (04/22/1997)
Nuyorican Soul (03/11/1997)
TropiJazz All-Stars, Vol. 2 (01/28/1997)
Carnival Rhythms (01/01/1997)
Mega Mix (12/17/1996)
TropiJazz All-Stars, Vol. 1 (08/06/1996)
Latin Soul Boogaloo (05/21/1996)
Mambo Expolosion (05/21/1996)
20 Anniversary of the NY Salsa Festival: 1975-1995 (04/16/1996)
Latin Side of John Coltrane (03/15/1996)
Constelacion de Estrellas, Vol. 1: Fania Platino (01/09/1996)
Constelacion de Estrellas, Vol. 2: Fania Platino (01/09/1996)
Canciones De Amor [Laserlight] (01/01/1996)
Latin Treasures, Vol. 1 (01/01/1996)
Legends of Latin Music (01/01/1996)
Mambo, Melao & Sabroso (01/01/1996)
Boyz of Paradize (08/22/1995)
More Than the Mambo: Introduction to Afro-Cuban Jazz (08/22/1995)
Magic of Salsa Ayer Y Hoy (06/20/1995)
Ritmo Caliente [Alegre] (03/01/1995)
Fania Latin Jazz Party (03/01/1995)
Soul of Jazz, Vol. 1 (01/01/1995)
Soneros de Siempre (08/12/1994)
Jazz Man (01/01/1994)
Salsa Explosiva (01/01/1994)
Fania 1964-1994: 30 Great Years, Vol. 1 (01/01/1994)
Salsa Greats, Vol. 1 (01/01/1994)
Hitazos de La Salsa (01/01/1994)
Tesoros de la Musica Afrolatina, Vol. 5 (10/22/1993)
Hits Gordos De Fania (12/30/1992)
Super Salsa Greats, Vol. 3 (12/30/1992)
Algo Nuestro [Our Thing] (03/11/1992)
World Music Album (01/01/1992)
Essentials [Intuition] (01/01/1992)
Llego La India (Via Eddie Palmieri) (01/01/1992)
Essentials [Intuition] (01/01/1992)
Soneros de Ponce (07/30/1991)
When the Night Is Over (01/01/1991)
Latino Club! (01/01/1990)
Latin Vogue: Sequence One (01/01/1990)
Salsa Greats, Vol. 2 (01/01/1978)
Rondo Musical Sudamericana (01/01/1973)
Harlem River Drive (01/01/1971)
Descargas Live at the Village Gate, Vol. 3 (01/01/1967)
Sonido Nuevo: The New Soul Sound (05/24/1966)
Descargas Live at the Village Gate, Vol. 2 (01/01/1966)
Descargas Live at the Village Gate, Vol. 1 (01/01/1965)
Talkin' Verve: Roots of Acid Jazz (08/28/1961)
Songs of Dick Merrick with Jerry Carretta & his Orchestra
Espresso Espresso
Compact Jazz: The Best of Latin Jazz


    Included in: Nation Masters Ecyclopedia : About Famous Puerto Ricans

    Included in: Science Daily Ecyclopedia: Famous Puerto Ricans

                      Thursday January 29, 2004