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El Rumbero del Piano

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Album Review

Grand master Palmieri and his ensemble, usually a tentet or slightly larger, explore punchy horn charts, the "son" song form, hot percussion grooves, a Mexican folk and straight jazz tune, and the infectiously distinctive Latin jazz (no one plays montuno better) or "Afro-World" (Palmieri's definition) music that few have mastered. Certainly no one surpasses the pianist/bandleader when it comes to sustained intensity. This recording starts off easily with a midtempo anthem of pride, "Sube," and the half-speed "Cafe," then kicks into high gear for the remainder of the program. Every track is truly exceptional, and you'll have personal faves. Consider that the following eight cuts may comprise as solid a program as Palmieri has ever sonically documented, from the unique melody of the horns in "Pas D'histoires," "La Llave" and Arsenio Rodriguez's "Oiga Mi Guaguanco," the traded lead vocals of Wichy Camcho and Herman Olivera on those pieces as well as "Malaguena Salerosa," "El Dueno Monte" and "Para Que Escuchen," to Eddie's first-ever plena (essentially Puerto Rican journalism through music), "Donde Esta Mi Negra." As a complete bandleader, being writer, arranger, interpreter, there is so much evident passion involved, and Palmieri's personal fire and brimstone is stamped on each measure. The band is "on" with every phrase and line. The music leaps out of the speakers. Palmieri, as the dynamo monster we all know he is, proves time and time again his mettle as the ultimate performer and piano percussionist in his inimitable ultra-melodic/harmonic/rhythmic way. Now, many of Palmieri's recordings are rife with absolutely startling pieces, but not as concentrated as heard here. This CD is more extraordinary with each track. It is likely his very best, certainly his most consistently satisfying date in a lengthy career filled with highlights and fireworks. Nominated for a Grammy in the Tropical Latin performance category in 1998. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

The Sun of Latin Music

Eddie Palmieri's musical career spans 50 years as a bandleader of salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His discography includes more than 32 titles. He has been awarded Eight Grammys, including the first presentation in the Best Latin Album category for his 1975 release The Sun of Latin Music, and the following year for Unfinished Masterpiece. Palo Pa' Rumba won in 1984, Solito in 1985 and La Verdad in 1987. He received two Grammy's for his 2000 release with Tito Puente Obra Maestra/Masterpiece one from the traditional Grammy awards and one from the Latin Grammy's. Born in Spanish Harlem of Puerto Rican Parents. "El Rumbero del Piano" is one of the best albums by this legendary Pianist/Band leader.


for someone who is relatively new to afro-cuban music, this album rocks. eddie palmieri is one of the legends of latin jazz and this record proves it. with a tight band, singing horn lines, and more percussion than you can shake a stick at, el rumbero del piano is a five-star winner!

Mostly great

El Rumbero was my first Eddie Palmieri record and it changed my musical listening life. There is great playing of some very tricky arrangements (Sube, Oiga Mi Guaguanocó). I also recommend Eddie & Friends Live! and La Perfecta II (which features the very different 2-trombone sound Palmieri developed in the 60's.)


Born: December 15, 1936 in New York, NY

Genre: Salsa y Tropical

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Eddie Palmieri is one of the foremost Latin jazz pianists, blessed with a technique that fuses such ubiquitous jazz influences as the styles of Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, and McCoy Tyner into a Latin context. No purist, he has also shown a welcome willingness to experiment with fusions of Latin and non-Latin music. Like his older brother Charlie, Eddie started playing at an early age (eight) and studied classical piano while also playing drums. He made his professional debut with Johnny Segui's...
Full Bio
El Rumbero del Piano, Eddie Palmieri
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Customer Ratings