Sunday, June 12, 2005

Eddie Palmieri - Listen Here!

About two weeks ago, Eddie brought his band to Fresno's Arte Americas for a concert as part of their "Nights In the Plaza" series. It was a great evening, showcasing a band which has to be among the best in latin jazz. (trumpeter Brian Lynch really stole the show, with his seemingly effortless virtuosity and melodic creativity). Now Eddie has a new cd out on Concord, called Listen Here. Based upon his normal working septet with Lynch, Donald Harrison and Conrad Herwig, the cd also finds star guest soloists joining the party, such as Michael Brecker, Regina Carter, Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, David Sanchez and John Scofield. While it lacks the cohesion of earlier albums with this same basic group (Palmas, Arete) due to the ever changing lineup, the real standout part of the album (aside from the obvious excellent solosists) is the material. Here Palmieri finds himself playing some classic jazz compositions, something he hasn't done much of in his over 50 years in the business. No one ever doubted Palmieri's jazz chops, as his piano owes as much to Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner as it does to most afro-cuban influenced pianists. But it's always nice to hear musicians in a new setting, and Listen Here does that. Aside from the Eddie Harris penned title track, tunes include Tin Tin Deo, Nica's Dream, and In Walked Bud. And unlike many current jazz musicians content with running through the motions on such tunes, Palmieri displays a creative and playful approach, daring at times, which makes for an excellent record.


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