“I’ve been alleged the ‘madman of salsa,’” said Eddie Palmieri. “I’ve got so abounding names, I balloon my own name.”
Palmieri has additionally been alleged an innovator by abounding and a “Jazz Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts aback he aboriginal stepped assimilate the date of the acclaimed Palladium Ballroom in 1956.
The still-fiery Palmieri is set to accompany his big bandage to New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark as allotment of its “Salsa Meets Jazz” accident Saturday night. No one exemplifies that brand coaction bigger than the 84-year-old pianist, bandleader and composer. Or is he 84?
In a contempo account with NJ Advance Media, he acclaimed that the backward trumpeter Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros told him that already you ability 50, you activate to calculation from aught again. “So,” Palmieri said. “I’m 34 with 84 years of acquaintance and 60 years in the music.”
Born in Spanish Harlem and aloft in the Bronx, Palmieri abstruse piano, but played a timbales boom set with an uncle’s bandage at the age of 13.
“I spent three years with him and again I was aback on the piano,” he recalled. “My mother never capital me to comedy the drums, and she won.”
Though he abstruse piano, including elements of jazz, from several teachers, seeing the Latin big bands during the heyday of the mambo era in the ‘50s was his greatest classroom.
“Those were absurd years for our music,” he said. “They had the best absurd music on the planet.”
Palmieri said that afterwards his aboriginal actualization at the Palladium with accompanist Vicentico Valdes, percussionist Manny Oquendo came over and said: “Your abandoned articulate like a nickelodeon [a coin-operated amateur piano], no administration known,” and gave him a assemblage of old 78 annal to study. “I advised those 25 annal until today, because that’s the ball anatomy that came from the ball orchestras of Cuba and no country has been able to accord them any affectionate of competition.”
In 1961, Palmieri revolutionized the complete of Latin music at the time by abacus trombones to the accepted calendar with his bandage Conjunto La Perfecta. The band’s ground-breaking masterpiece “Azucar Pa’ Ti (Sugar for You),” became a hit, alike clocking in at nine account plus, and was eventually called by the Library of Congress for its National Recording Registry.
“That’s actually an honor,” he said. “I’ll booty it to my agreeable hunting grounds.”
Palmieri went on to win 10 Grammys (including the aboriginal in the Latin category), alien the accompanist La India to the world, and afraid the music apple in 1970 with the anthology “Harlem River Drive,” which melded salsa, jazz, body and funk. Consistently alert that Afro-Caribbean music was a aftereffect of the biased bondservant trade, has additionally been a amusing activist, recording a alive anthology at Sing Sing bastille and autograph songs such as “Justicia,” and “La Libertad.”
Whatever his age, Palmieri continues to accompany his aerial activity music to audiences, admitting he laments the ball clubs like the Palladium are no best about for dancers.
“Our music started to go into demise,” he said. “And my wife, who anesthetized abroad in 2014, said, ‘Pop, attending at what’s happening. The music that they comedy now is not the music that you’re acclimatized to playing. If you can do Latin jazz, do Latin jazz. And she was actually right.
“Everything is changed, except my appearance of playing,” he continued. “Which is the way to comedy the Afro Caribbean music. No one can comedy it. … You accept to adulation it the way I adulation it.”
In his salsa days, Palmieri was accepted to accent his solos with acquaint slams to the keyboard and about jump off his piano bank as he played. He admits to actuality a percussionist at heart.
“The piano is a admirable instrument, for admirable melodies,” he noted. “But it’s a percussive apparatus that if you apperceive how to advance it, it responds. I accelerate the orchestra with what I do with my playing—and already I accelerate them, we’re on our way.”
“The abundant composers were consistently appetite to attending for the best in rhythm, but they fell abbreviate because they didn’t apperceive about Africa,” he said.
“That’s the beating of my life. Back I’m arena a piano abandoned and again I accord it to one of the percussionists, that starts to actualize the astriction and attrition [and again when] the assumption comes in, I’m gonna beating you off your seat. I don’t anticipate I’m gonna do it. I apperceive it.”
“Salsa Meets Jazz”: Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra; Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Applesauce Orchestra; and Tito Nieves
Sept. 25th at 8 pm, , New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark
Tickets are $29-$89. For tickets and info, go to https://www.njpac.org/event/salsa-meets-jazz
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