Known as one of the finest pianists of the past 60 years, 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.
Palmieri’s parents emigrated from Ponce, Puerto Rico to New York City in 1926. Born in Spanish Harlem 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.
Palmieri’s professional career as a pianist took off with various bands in the early 1950s including Eddie Forrester, Johnny Segui’s, and the popular Tito Rodriguez Orchestra. In 1961, Palmieri formed his own band, La Perfecta, which featured an unconventional front line of trombones rather than the trumpets customary in Latin orchestras. This created an innovative sound that mixed American jazz into Afro-Caribbean rhythms, surprising critics and fans alike. Palmieri disbanded La Perfecta in 1968 to pursue different musical endeavors, though he would return to the band’s music in the 2000s.
The world has long admired the Spanish Harlem born, seven-time GRAMMY® Award winning Palmieri as one of the foremost Latin pianists of the last half-century. His ability to fuse the rhythms of his Hispanic heritage with the jazz influences of Thelonius Monk and McCoy Tyner made him an immediate hit when he played New York's Palladium Ballroom in the '50s and '60s. He has continued to roll on with stylistic innovations over the years, creating classic Tico albums and later mixing salsa with R&B, pop, rock, Spanish vocals and more jazz improvisation.
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