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World - Released December 31, 1970 | Fania

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World - Released December 31, 1986 | Fania

Eddie Palmieri's 1971 LP Vamonos Pa'l Monte moves easily from the nearly avant-garde trumpet-battle opener "Revolt/La Libertad Logico" into the new-era-meets-old "Caminando," complete with an excellent electric-piano solo by Palmieri himself. He also takes the lead on the seven-minute title-track jam, this time with organ (backed by brother Charlie), backed by a strong vocal chorus (Justo Betancourt, Santos Colon, Yayo el Indio) and the rugged timbales playing of Nick Marrero. Above and beyond the irresistible arrangements and intricate playing, Vamonos Pa'l Monte benefits from one of the best recording jobs of any early-'70s salsa record, each section -- and practically each musician -- vigorously separated with clear stereo. Though many fans consider it a transition record toward the compositional brilliance of The Sun of Latin Music, it's actually a much better record for fans of traditional salsa. © John Bush /TiVo
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Latin - Released September 25, 2007 | Fania

During the late '50s and early '60s, progressive Latin music was ruled by the charanga, a light and springlike configuration emphasizing flutes and violins. Although pianist Eddie Palmieri didn't break that mold, his debut recordings as a leader did change the game quite a bit. With nimble rhythms and a powerhouse front line featuring R&B trombone player Barry Rogers and Palmieri's strident piano playing -- he played his piano percussively, due to early timbales lessons -- the group lay at the intersection of R&B, jazz, and, of course, Latin music. Palmieri's debut album, La Perfecta released in 1962 on the Alegre label, was not only a Latin masterpiece but also paved the way for the free-form extravaganza that became salsa later in the decade. Palmieri's group continued until 1967, recording for Alegre or Tico, and the best of the band's work appears on the 19-track compilation Sugar Daddy. Compared to Ray Barretto, Tico's other star of the time, Palmieri's group had slightly less emphasis on the heavy groove (and novelty tendencies) of R&B popcorn. With plenty of percussion plus the soaring sonero vocals of longtime Palmieri associate Ismael Quintana, the band was closer to the sound of traditional Puerto Rican music than most Latin groups working then. The compilation includes four tracks from La Perfecta, as well as the best of his other '60s LPs like Echando Pa'lante (Straight Ahead) and Azucar Pa' Ti (Sugar for You) (the latter including the excellent ten-minute track "Azúcar"). © John Bush /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2010 | Fania

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Latin Jazz - Released November 1, 2005 | Nonesuch

Eddie Palmieri's Palmas starts at full speed and doesn't stop, except for some thoughtful extended piano noodling on "Bolero Dos." The band features three jazz horn players (trumpet, trombone, saxophone) in front of a smokin' Latin rhythm section, all held together by the maestro on piano. Palmieri typically starts off a number with familiar Latin piano patterns which quickly evolve into completely innovative chord combinations. The horn players take the listener on some musical adventures in each of these extended tunes, flying far afield, but always coming back to the theme. The percussionists keep their complex beat for the most part, but occasionally swap rhythmic places with the horns as the timbales or bongos take a solo while the brass pumps out the time. Palmieri's style has evolved significantly over the decades. Fans of his older salsa material will be surprised by Palmas; listeners who discover this man through Palmas will be surprised when they seek out older material. But careful listening reveals surprising constancies in Palmieri's piano playing over the years. Be ready for a trip on this one. © Bruce Ishikawa /TiVo
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Salsa - Released December 21, 2018 | Musical Productions

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Latin - Released December 31, 1990 | Fania

Eddie Palmieri has come a long way from Harlem River Drive, the first band he formed upon getting to New York from Puerto Rico. Since that time, he's become a well-known of deep son and salsa bands, an arranger, a session musician, and even as a film composer. EP is a 1985 session with no musicians' credits and no notes, so all you can do is go on the merits of the music. It's a big band session, with cooking Latin rhythms and Afro-Cuban melodics, as well as a few vanguard compositional touches. The record smokes thoroughly from beginning to end, revealing that Palmieri has lost none of his fire since the mid-'70s, and is a stunning showcase of his abilities as an arranger and composer. "El Dia Que Me Quieras," which is a tango by Carlos Gardel, is adapted here by Palmieri for his large band. He begins with a pastoral string section into, playing glissando over miniscule changes in tempo and timbre. Next thing you know, the salsa enters and rocks it up with a host of singers in call-and-response mode before an oboe winds its way right though the mix to re-establish Gardel's theme. Another notable is the "Palo Pa Rumba," authored by Palmieri. Using classic form and shading the beats with a three-part harmonic horn choir augmented by a piano bridging the rhythms and melodies, the entire track turns into a dervish rhumba frenzy by moving the minor key figures into extended mode until they virtually cover the original melody while not departing from it. It sizzles and shakes with polyrhythmic fever whirling around the listener until it burns itself out seven-and-a-half minutes later. There is no let up or let down, and given that this is a 1985 session when a lot of the bands were disappearing, it's a welcome addition to the Latin big band catalog. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Latin - Released December 31, 1966 | Fania

Along with Willie Colon, brother Charlie Palmieri, and other Fania and Tico label artists, Eddie Palmieri helped forged the innovative mix of salsa, boogaloo, jazz, soul, and rock that helped define the New York-Latin sound of the '70s and '80s. The '60s, though, found Palmieri mostly focused on Cuban and Puerto Rican music and jazz. A high point for Palmieri during this fruitful period certainly must be his Tico release Molasses: a fine record that has salsa both frenetic ("Campesino (El Pregon de la Montana)") and even keeled ("Tiradote Flores"), as well as percussion-heavy descargas ("Bombonsito de Pozo"). The set also includes evocations of important figures like Palmieri's former boss and smooth, Latin-big band leader Tito Rodriguez (the mid-tempo mambo "Traguito") and salsa pioneer Arsenio Rodriguez (the raw, Afro-Cuban vocal and percussion attack of "Carnival en Camaguey"). And for even more variety, a straight pop rendition of the Andre Previn standard "You're Gonna Hear From Me" is included. Throughout the set, Palmieri shows off his considerable, McCoy Tyner-inspired piano chops. His band is equally impressive, especially vocalist Ismael Quintana, percussionist Manny Oquendo, and trombonists Barry Rogers and Jose Rodrigues (the latter two being part of Palmieri's signature two trombone and flute front line). Molasses is one of the many excellent titles in the Palmieri catalog and certainly one of the Latin master's best recordings from the '60s. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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World - Released March 17, 2009 | Fania

Eddie Palmieri's 1971 LP Vamonos Pa'l Monte moves easily from the nearly avant-garde trumpet-battle opener "Revolt/La Libertad Logico" into the new-era-meets-old "Caminando," complete with an excellent electric-piano solo by Palmieri himself. He also takes the lead on the seven-minute title-track jam, this time with organ (backed by brother Charlie), backed by a strong vocal chorus (Justo Betancourt, Santos Colon, Yayo el Indio) and the rugged timbales playing of Nick Marrero. Above and beyond the irresistible arrangements and intricate playing, Vamonos Pa'l Monte benefits from one of the best recording jobs of any early-'70s salsa record, each section -- and practically each musician -- vigorously separated with clear stereo. Though many fans consider it a transition record toward the compositional brilliance of The Sun of Latin Music, it's actually a much better record for fans of traditional salsa. © John Bush /TiVo
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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
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Latin - Released December 31, 1964 | Fania

Eddie Palmieri first hit in the '60s with his classic two-trombone sound. This is one of his finest albums; unassuming, joyous, punchy, and sharp, it has the outstanding Ismael Quintana on vocals and Manny Oquendo on timbales. © John Storm Roberts /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 12, 2016 | Epic

A late-'70s offering (originally on Epic), this LP has moments of real brilliance. The title track, for instance, is a nice long jammer and lets Palmieri show off his talent for unique arrangements. It doesn't hurt, of course, that players like his brother Charlie and stratospheric trumpeter Jon Faddis are in the mix. Most of the record, however, is marred by a disco-leaning production style that saw fit to introduce chanting strings and lots of singers making "oo, oo, oo" noises. The final effect is less than one would expect from this eclectic Latin master and more of what one would find as incidental music from an episode of Adam-12. © Rob Ferrier /TiVo
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Latin - Released December 31, 1981 | Fania

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Concord Records

During his career, Eddie Palmieri hasn't seemed completely comfortable unless he's allowing others to challenge him. It was true at the beginning of his career when he revolutionized Latin music with his charanga, the La Perfecta ensemble; it was true during the mid-'60s when he recorded two respected dates with Cal Tjader; it was true during the '60s and '70s when he energized the Latin superstar band, the Fania All-Stars; and it was still true in early 2005 when he recorded Listen Here! Released on Concord Picante, it sees an array of excellent jazz instrumentalists sharing solo space with his regular group. First up is Regina Carter, not a natural fit for a Latin group by anyone's estimation, but still a master musician whose sprightly violin proves surprisingly sympathetic with Palmieri's tough salsa unit (and she hangs on easily when the band kicks in to a hardcore salsa halfway through). Tenor Michael Brecker and bassist Christian McBride also prove up to the task on the title track, a salsa re-imagination of Eddie Harris' near-standard "Listen Here." Elsewhere, Palmieri gets several chances to extend his arranging chops, by translating a trio of real standards -- "Tin Tin Deo," "In Walked Bud," "Nica's Dream" -- for his group. © John Bush /TiVo
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World - Released December 31, 1975 | Fania

History is one of those great 1970s compilations that has just enough perspective to get it right. Material is drawn from both Tico and Alegre albums, and wide varieties of rhythm, tempos, and style are represented, but not too wide. Salsa fans will find much of interest. "Cuidate Compay" and "Conmigo" in particular are hot dance tracks which still sound fresh and infectious. It may not be correct to call the album a "history" of Eddie Palmieri, but it is a great slice of his best work from the 1960s. It is, at least, a history until Harlem River Drive. History serves well as an introduction to the "Sun of Latin Music, " but even longtime Palmieri fans may want it in addition to the originals or other compilations. © Tony Wilds /TiVo
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Latin - Released December 31, 1962 | Fania

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Concord Records

Pianist Eddie Palmieri, an innovative part of the Latin jazz and salsa scenes since the late '50s, mixes together a variety of idioms on this intriguing set. He uses a number of horns (including two or three trombones), an expanded rhythm section, occasional strings, and (on six of the 11 selections) a vocal group. Although there are some fine individual solos (including those from Palmieri and trumpeter Brian Lynch), it is the joyful sound of the ensembles that is most impressive. The individual tunes do not stick in one's mind and sometimes the music wanders away from jazz altogether into commercial salsa, but most of this set should be of interest to Afro-Cuban jazz listeners. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Concord Records

Innovative Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri returns to the music of his classic '60s ensemble La Perfecta on La Perfecta II. After disbanding La Perfecta in 1968 due to financial difficulties and later the death of trombonist/partner Barry Rogers in 1991, Palmieri vowed to never again perform the music he made famous. However, presented with the diligent transcriptions of La Perfecta's recordings by trombonist Doug Beavers, Palmieri felt the time had come for this music to be heard anew. What a gift. This is classic salsa, charanga, and mambo performed by some of the finest musicians in the Latin and jazz idioms. The music has just as much fire and energy as the originals, but references the best of progressive modern jazz arranging. Beavers even arranged one of Rogers' solos (on "Tirandote Flores") for three trombones. Joining in are many longtime Palmieri collaborators, like trumpeter Brian Lynch and trombonist Conrad Herwig as well as saxophonist Mario Rivera and percussionist John Rodriguez Jr. This is music you can dance to that also features forward-thinking jazz soloing of the highest order. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Salsa - Released November 24, 2017 | Musical Productions

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Electronic - Released March 28, 2006 | Charly Records