“PUERTO RICO!” shouted an enthusiastic fan seated near the back, while in the front row a group of fans held up a large flag of the same country. No this was not a World Cup Soccer match; it was New York-born/Puerto Rican-American Jazz legend Eddie Palmieri, who has 9 Grammys, walking on the stage at UAA’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium Friday evening. He sat down at the grand piano and played a solo 15 minute piece that followed the initial uproar and quickly became the only sound in the place
500 plus Jazz fans came to see the pianist Palmieri along with trumpeter Brian Lynch (also a Grammy winner) perform their Latin-based Jazz tunes. The cast also included a trombonist, a bassist, and 4 percussionists all of whom were from Alaska and only had one rehearsal with the duo of Palmieri and Lynch (they all seemed in synch and that wouldn’t have been known if it were not announced). Three or four songs into the set Plamieri, who appeared affable, encouraged several audience members to come down between the stage and the front row and dance. Their songs were lively, yet not short and concise; most songs were 10-15 minutes apiece, which is actually typical for Jazz (for those of my ‘rock only’ readers).
The UAA Jazz Ensemble opened the show with 4 Latin Jazz inspired tunes and set the tone for the evening. The pure volume of performers in the Ensemble was impressive, there were 20 performers total:
• 5 Saxophonists
• 5 Trumpeters
• 4 Trombonists
• 1 Bassist, electric
• 1 Guitarist, electric
• 3 Percussionists
• 1 Pianist, conductor Karen Chadwick
The Ensemble is made up of both students and non-students and Chadwick said they were able to work with Plamieri and Lynch for a few days before to practice Latin Jazz techniques.
The Wendy Williamson Auditorium is a nice place to see a concert, good sound for its size (roughly 1000 seat capacity), and it was an affordable show; for students it was $5 and for others it was $20. I guess that is one reason why they say education pays.
Palmieri (left) and Lynch