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Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet: Eddie at 80

Saturday, December 9, 2017 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Location: Olympia Theater

Tickets on sale through OlympiaTheater.org:  $37, $47 and $57 + fees.

NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger and composer of salsa and Latin jazz. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner as well as his older brother, Charlie Palmieri.  He is celebrating his 80th (!) birthday with a new album and a tour with his Latin Jazz Septet of select dates, including this one.

  • Eddie Palmieri, piano
  • Jonathan Powell, trumpet
  • Louis Fouche, alto saxophone
  • Luques Curtis, bass
  • Vicente “Little Johnny” Rivero –  Congas
  • Camilo Molina, timbales
  • Nicky Marrero, bongo / timbalitos

Born in Spanish Harlem to Puerto Rican parents and raised in the Bronx, Palmieri learned to play the piano at an early age, and at 13, he joined his uncle’s orchestra, playing timbales.  He played piano with popular New York bands during the 1950s before forming his own band La Perfecta in 1960.  The group featured an unconventional front line of trombones rather than the trumpets customary in Latin orchestras, which created an innovative sound that mixed American jazz into Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Palmieri disbanded La Perfecta in 1968 to pursue different musical endeavors, though he would return to the band’s music in the 2000s.

Palmieri’s landmark 1970 release Harlem River Drive was a first to merge what were categorized as “Black” and “Latin” music into a free-form fusion of salsa, funk, soul and jazz. In 1975, he won the first-ever Grammy for Best Latin Recording for The Sun of Latin Music (he’s won ten Grammys altogether to date, including two with Tito Puente).

Recognizing Palmieri as an American icon, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, recorded two of Palmieri’s performances for its archives in 1988. Because of Palmieri’s proclivity for creating music in funk Latin style, Little Louie Vega invited him to record on Nuyorican Soul (1997), a release that became very popular in the house and underground music scenes.

In addition to the Grammys, Palmieri has received numerous honors: Eubie Blake Award (1991); BBC (2002); Yale University’s Chubb Fellowship, usually reserved for international heads of state, but given to Palmieri in recognition of his work building communities through music (2002); Harlem Renaissance Award (2005); and more. In 2009, the Library of Congress added Palmieri’s composition Azucar Pa’ Ti to the National Recording Registry, which at the time only included 300 compositions documenting the history of all of recorded music history in the U.S.

In 2013, Eddie Palmieri was awarded the coveted Jazz Master award – the highest honor for an – by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA).  That year he was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

To celebrate his 80th birthday in December 2016, he has released the gorgeous new Sabiduría.  He has embarked with his Latin Jazz Septet on a handful of prestigious dates as well, including December 9th at downtowm Miami’s historic gem, the Olympia Theater.

This concert is co-presented by The Rhythm Foundation and Olympia Theater.