Eddie Palmieri, Sabiduria (Ropeadope)
Twin undercurrents run through this immensely satisfying album: Palmieri’s mastery of Afro-Cuban rhythms and the deep harmonic inspiration with which he motivates himself and his musicians. The players include the veteran saxophonists Donald Harrison and Ronnie Cuber, bassist Marcus Miller and vibraphonist Joe Locke, and the rhythm section at the core of Palmieri’s bands for years—percussionists Little Johnny Rivero, Anthony Carillo, Obed Calvaire, Lusito Quintero, and bassist Luques Curtis. Drummer Bernard Purdie is a guest on the title track.
The collective experience of the musicians and the leadership of the 80-year-old Palmieri add up to the wisdom (sabiduria) of the album title. Cuber’s baritone saxophone solos explode out of the mutual admiration he and Palmieri began developing in the 1970s. On Cal Tjader’s “Samba do Suenho,” vibraphonist Joe Locke recalls the ground-breaking collaboration of Cal Tjader and Palmieri in their classic El Sonido Nuevo (1966). The album ends with the deep harmonies and irresistible time-feel of “Jibarita y Su Son,” one of eleven new compositions Palmieri wrote for the collection. This is a major addition to his extensive discography.