Salsa and Latin Jazz maestro, Eddie Palmieri, will be headlining the 33rd Season at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts. The fabulous and famous Mambo Legends Orchestra will open the show on Saturday, September 28th at 8:00 p.m. With these two extraordinary Latin orchestras sharing the bandstand, this show is sure to be a hot ticket.
Fans will be treated to something special on September 28th because Eddie will be showcasing a whole new rhythm section and featuring the most primitive drum known. To some, the Batá is a sacred drum which is still made in Cuba. The batá drums are used in the sacred rituals of Cuban Santería and are made up of three hourglass-shaped drums of different sizes that perform specific musical functions. Their main religious function is that of establishing a medium between the believers of Santería and the Orishas or God, they pray to. The characteristic poly rhythms executed on the batá drums have substantially enriched Cuban music, and are used in various musical styles. “I am very excited about playing these sacred drums for the Lehman Center audience. At first the Batá drums were only used for sacred practices and no other use, but now the Batá has been commercialized and therefore I am honored to use them during the show at Lehman Center in the Bronx. By the way, as we do this interview, I am having lunch with producer Bob Sancho who made it possible for me to be at Lehman Center,” claimed the music innovator.
The maestro will be joined on stage by talent such as Ronnie Cuber (Baritone Saxophone), Alfredo de la Fe (Violin), Donald Harrison (Alto Saxophone & Vocals), and Joe Locke (Vibes). He will include invited guests: Anthony Carrillo (Bongo, Bata), Luques Curtis (Bass), Vicente “Little Johnny” Rivero (Congas, Bata) and Camilo Molina (Timbales, Bata).
Born on 112th Street between Madison and Park Avenue in Spanish Harlem, the master of salsa and Latin jazz, mentioned that his brother Charlie, who before his passing, was known as the Giant on the Keyboards, and was a renowned band leader and musical director of salsa in his own right, was having a street named after him called Charlie Palmieri Way which should be installed by next year. “Since the neighborhood community where I was born, is establishing Charlie Palmieri Way in honor of my brother, for which I am very proud, I think since I recorded Harlem River Drive, a record that merged Black music with Latin music in a free form using the elements of salsa, soul, jazz and funk, I want Harlem River Drive to be turned into the Eddie Palmieri Turnpike where they can charge a mini-toll; 25 cents for the community, 25 cents for the schools and 50 cents for me,” laughed Eddie heartily as he enjoyed his own joke.
Beginning on Monday, September 23rd, Palmieri will be teaching a special course at Rutgers every Monday until the end of the semester. And, if all goes well, he may join the Rutgers faculty. Presently on tour, Eddie will also be appearing in Bethesda, Maryland, Cape May, New Jersey, and in the city of San Francisco. “I am going to Grania Juana Paula after I finish regionally. It’s a little place near Venezuela. I will then go onward to Paris. In fact, this summer, I toured France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and even Croatia,” said Mr. Palmieri.
This year the NEA Jazz Masters recognized him and Eddie Palmieri is soon to be honored with the Latin Recording Academy®’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas as part of the week-long 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards® celebration.
Eddie Palmieri has not had a CD out for some time but he is presently working on his latest CD entitled Sabiduria, which means wisdom. “The new CD is so frightening; I might not let it come out. You can’t take it,” joked Eddie. “Musicians such as Marcus Miller (Bass), Bernard Purdie (drums), Dave Spinoza (guitar), Ronnie Cuber (sax) and 3 bata drummers are helping to make this CD special. Sabiduria will be out next year. It started off as a documentary on basketball in the street and then we just kept recording and made it a CD. It will be a unique CD in the genre of Latin Jazz, I guarantee it!” promised Eddie.
Interested parties can hear the complete interview on my show Topically Yours on Blakeradio.com, Rainbow Soul. To acquire tickets to Eddie Palmieri’s Saturday, September 28th, 8pm, show at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, in the Bronx, NY, call 718-960-8833 or go on line at www.Lehmancenter.org .