Eddie Palmieri, Jazz Master

PalmieriOn January 14, the pioneering Latin jazz artist Eddie Palmieri will be among those honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as 2013 NEA Jazz Masters. The others are pianist, singer and songwriter Mose Allison; alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson; Owner Lorraine Gordon of New York’s Village Vanguard; and writer A. B. Spellman. Tonight and tomorrow night, Palmieri is being recognized by Jazz at Lincoln Center in concerts reprising the 76-year-old pianist’s career. From the JALC announcement:

On this evening, “El Rey de las Blancas y Las Negras” retrospects on his spectacular career with both The Eddie Palmieri Orchestra and his Afro-Caribbean Jazz Octet, coalescing his form-stretching salsa innovations with his sui generis brand of “jazz Latino.”

Larry Rohter’s New York Times piece has details about this weekend’s events at Lincoln Center and a survey of Palmieri’s work, which has won nine Grammy awards.

Among the most enduring and engaging of Palmieri’s albums is El Sonido Nuevo, a 1966 collaboration with another major figure in Latin music and jazz, Cal Tjader. Here is Tito Puente’s “Picadillo,” arranged by Palmieri and Claus Ogerman.

El Sonido Nuevo was the first half of a trade agreement between Tjader’s label, Verve, and Palmieri’s, Tico. In 1967, Tjader recorded with Palmieri’s band. The resulting album was Bamboleate. The title track features the leaders, the vocal ensemble and the formidable Latin trombone section of Barry Rogers and Mark Weinstein in the days before Weinstein switched to flute.

Bamboleate is out of print, outrageously priced as a CD or an LP, but reasonable as an MP3 download. The digital revolution has its good points.

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