Eddie Palmieri - Mi Luz Mayor

Eddie Palmieri’s influence on the world of modern music is often celebrated, but just as often underestimated. As he completes his 80th year with us, his energy and commitment seem to be increasing, as if to fully emphasize the power of not just the music but also the cross-cultural importance of the process. With no sign of slowing, Mr. Palmieri is the elder of a global culture of musicians, actively teaching young students and leading the way for the next generation.

In 2018 Mr. Palmieri returns to his roots in different ways; the summer release of his Salsa classics album Full Circle stunned players and students alike with finely tuned renditions of songs that Mr. Palmieri recorded in the past. The project was also released on the PalmieriSalsaJams App, the world’s first interactive Salsa music app on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s Stretch Music App platform. The App allows students to manipulate and 'remix' all of the tracks, as a practice tool and as an interactive way to understand the arrangements.

And Now, Mr. Palmieri delivers a second Salsa project, due out on November 2, 2018. Mi Luz Mayor is best described in his words:

'Here I present to you the music that my late wife, Iraida, and I enjoyed in our youth.  I would play this music in our home often, during the holidays and on special occasions.  We would dance to this music, but there were also times where the music spoke for us.  Music was the constant force that touched our hearts and would heal any wounds that life sent our way. Ultimately, these songs represent our love story.  Selecting each composition and writing new music helped me work through my grief after she passed away in 2014.  Because this music is in her honor, everything from start to finish had to be of the highest caliber, and I am proud to say that it is just that.

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The music is a reflection of the profound respect, admiration and impact both Rene Hernández and Ray Santos have had on my musical life.  Their arranging skills show careful study and the diligence I endeavor to carry over into my own arrangements.  It is the platform from which I rarely move, where the historical integrity of the Cuban structures are preserved and expounded upon – that is the excitement that drives my creative process.   The music also embodies the contributions and arranging talent of Jose Madera – I truly believe he is an inspiration to the next generation of arrangers.

As for the musicians…I am surrounded by Chiefs, each a master of their own instrument.  I am incredibly grateful to all the musicians that are on this recording and of course, the special guests, Mr. Carlos Santana, Mr. Gilberto Santa Rosa and La Voz del Caribe, Herman Olivera.'

Born in 1936 in New York, Mr. Eddie Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger, and composer who has skillfully fused the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences. He gained international attention as a pianist in the 1950’s, playing with Eddie Forrester and the popular Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, among others. In 1961 he formed La Perfecta, featuring an unconventional front line of trombones that created a new sound, mixing American Jazz into Afro-Caribbean rhythms and leading to the trombone-heavy Salsa explosion in the 1970s.

Throughout the 60s and 70s Mr. Palmieri continued to surprise fans and critics with his unique sound – in 1970 he released the epic ‘Harlem River Drive’, merging Black and Latin music into a free-form sound that seamlessly blends elements of funk, soul, rock, salsa, and jazz. In 1975 Mr. Palmieri was awarded the very first Grammy for Best Latin Recording; this would be the first of ten Grammys over the next 30 years. His lyrics and arranging style have influenced countless musicians from a diverse array of settings, including Chick Corea, Ruben Blades, Willie Colon and the Fania All Stars, Christian McBride, and hip hop pioneer Bobbito Garcia.

Louis Marks