Jazz Master Finds His Rhythm

By Ryan Hayworth

Jazz Master Finds His Rhythm

Weaving elements of American jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Eddie Palmieri’s music spans many cultures and generations, embracing modern-day sound through a vision that is unique to him. Backed by a band of all-star musicians, Palmieri will bring his one-of-kind rhythms to The Lincoln Center on November 9th.

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 a myriad of jazz influences.

Though an NEA Jazz Master and 10-time Grammy winner today, Palmieri’s music career did not begin with a passion for jazz.

“In the beginning of my career I did not like or comprehend jazz,” says Palmieri. “I was strictly interested in Latin Music.”

With familial and musical influences of his childhood being orchestra’s like Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente, Palmieri was focused on a career as a Dance Orchestra leader.

“Latin music was huge in the 50s and my family were all semi-professional musicians. My childhood was surrounded by music and my mentor —my brother, the great Charlie Palmieri—was already an accomplished pianist,” says Palmieri.

It wasn’t until the 1960s when Palmieri’s “spirit of investigation” and music teachers led him to great jazz pianists and jazz harmonies that built on his Latin music background that now influences his “Afro Caribbean World Music” style.

Palmieri’s impressive and innovative rhythms have wowed critics and fans alike for several decades earning him top honors such as the Eubie Blake Award, Harlem Renaissance Award, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, induction into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and the coveted Jazz Master award by the National Endowment of the Arts. This is nothing to say of his 10 Grammys.

“My Grammy Awards have been the biggest highlight of my musical career,” says Palmieri. “To be recognized by my peers and the Academy has been a complete blessing.”

In fact, he is on the cusp of getting yet another Grammy. Palmieri’s most recent Big Band Salsa Album, Mi Luz Mayor with guest artist, Carlos Santana, is currently nominated in the Latin Grammy’s for Best Salsa Album.

With a trophy case full of awards, most would expect an artist to move into retirement but that’s not the case for Palmieri. “The pulse of my life is music,” says the 82-year-old phenomenon, with his favorite part of shows being able to still perform at “the highest degree of musical quality.”

Whether you are a die-hard fan or simply just a music lover, listening to Eddie Palmieri is a sure-fire way to positively light up your evening.

The music legend guarantees a “wonderful musical voyage” during his performance in Fort Collins so don’t miss your chance to witness one of the greatest Latin jazz and salsa pianists live at The Lincoln Center on Nov. 9! Seats from $15 at LCtix.com.

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