On 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.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.