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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | RMM Records

Grand master Palmieri and his ensemble, usually a tentet or slightly larger, explore punchy horn charts, the "son" song form, hot percussion grooves, a Mexican folk and straight jazz tune, and the infectiously distinctive Latin jazz (no one plays montuno better) or "Afro-World" (Palmieri's definition) music that few have mastered. Certainly no one surpasses the pianist/bandleader when it comes to sustained intensity. This recording starts off easily with a midtempo anthem of pride, "Sube," and the half-speed "Cafe," then kicks into high gear for the remainder of the program. Every track is truly exceptional, and you'll have personal faves. Consider that the following eight cuts may comprise as solid a program as Palmieri has ever sonically documented, from the unique melody of the horns in "Pas D'histoires," "La Llave" and Arsenio Rodriguez's "Oiga Mi Guaguanco," the traded lead vocals of Wichy Camcho and Herman Olivera on those pieces as well as "Malaguena Salerosa," "El Dueno Monte" and "Para Que Escuchen," to Eddie's first-ever plena (essentially Puerto Rican journalism through music), "Donde Esta Mi Negra." As a complete bandleader, being writer, arranger, interpreter, there is so much evident passion involved, and Palmieri's personal fire and brimstone is stamped on each measure. The band is "on" with every phrase and line. The music leaps out of the speakers. Palmieri, as the dynamo monster we all know he is, proves time and time again his mettle as the ultimate performer and piano percussionist in his inimitable ultra-melodic/harmonic/rhythmic way. Now, many of Palmieri's recordings are rife with absolutely startling pieces, but not as concentrated as heard here. This CD is more extraordinary with each track. It is likely his very best, certainly his most consistently satisfying date in a lengthy career filled with highlights and fireworks. Nominated for a Grammy in the Tropical Latin performance category in 1998. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

World - Released January 1, 2000 | RMM Records

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For anyone wondering when the two most luminary voices in New York Latin jazz would finally join forces, even if for just a moment, the 2000 release of Masterpiece/Obra Maestra is the answer. A collaboration between big-band Latino king Tito Puente and salsa/jazz great Eddie Palmieri is the stuff that clave dreams are made of. Both taking turns as writing/conductor/performer, Palmieri and Puente affect each other's artistry in an infinitely satisfying way. Puente fans will delight in the addition of salsa-driven choro and sonero, unquestionably the handiwork of his counterpart. Palmieri enthusiasts will certainly notice and appreciate the indisputably Puente-penned sexy horn lines and band sound. Who but the mighty RMM label could have either conceived or produced such promising pursuit? Like a modern-day Fania, RMM can be credited with some of the most innovative and impacting projects of its time. The band sound is rich and sultry, featuring both the unmistakable virtuosity of Palmieri's solo work and the incendiary fury of Puente, the undisputed timbal master. If there is one flaw to be found in Masterpiece/Obra Maestra, it is that it was not followed up with dozens of more joint ventures from these towering musical giants. © Evan C. Gutierrez /TiVo

World - Released January 1, 1995 | RMM Records

Pianist/composer Eddie Palmieri has long been a giant of Afro-Cuban (or Latin) jazz. While some recordings in this idiom lean too far in one direction -- not enough jazz improvising, or in other cases, a percussion section that sounds as if it were added on as an afterthought -- Palmieri has struck a perfect balance. In trumpeter Brian Lynch, trombonist Conrad Herwig and altoist Donald Harrison, he has three strong soloists who match well with the trio of percussionists. In addition to Palmieri, bassist John Benitez and drummer Adam Cruz (the latter is on just four of the eight Palmieri originals) are flexible enough to play both swing and Latin. A strong plus to this date are the compositions/arrangements of Palmieri, which pay close attention to varying moods, instrumental colors and grooves. Consistently complex and unpredictable, the music is still always quite accessible and enjoyable, thanks to the percussionists. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | RMM Records


World - Released January 1, 1999 | RMM Records

Backed by a superb, largish Latin jazz ensemble, Eddie Palmieri went into the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture in the Bronx to record this benefit album for the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center. The elaborate piano/string synthesizer intros by the erudite pianist/leader are deceptive, for they soon give way to some heated yet paradoxically poised Afro-Cuban vamps, executed with breathtaking clarity and -- under the circumstances -- recorded quite well. Everything burns, but not blatantly; best of all is the easygoing yet sexy guajira, "Slow Visor." The soloists are all fine jazzmen, with Juancito Torres Vélez and Barry Danielen, alto saxophonist Héctor Veneros, trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, and bassist Hugo Duran getting some choice spots -- and Anthony Carillo takes a long, unaccompanied bongo solo on "Camagueyanos y Habaneros." You don't have to know that this album is going for a good cause in order to pick it up. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo