En español | For more than 50 years, Eddie Palmieri's signature musical style — a mesmeric mixture of salsa and swing grooves — has redefined the boundaries of jazz. Said to "make a piano roar" by The New York Times, Palmieri's music was critical to in the development of Latin jazz, a genre that dates back to the early 1940s and has been cultivated by greats like Tito Puente and Paquito D'Rivera.
Now the nine-time Grammy Award winner is set to release a retrospective DVD on August 16 covering his beginnings as a young musician growing up in New York's El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) and the Bronx during the heyday of Latin big bands of the '40s and '50s to performing as pianist and bandleader on some of the biggest stages around the globe.
"I grew up listening to the music my brother would bring home, big bands like Glenn Miller's, and Machito and his Afro-Cubans," Palmieri recalled in a recent interview with AARP VIVA, referring to his older sibling, the late Charlie Palmieri, a renowned salsa pianist and one of Eddie's main influences.
The younger Palmieri went on to form his own band, Conjunto La Perfecta, in 1961, a musical ensemble that created a unique sound by combining Caribbean rhythms with traditional jazz and incorporated such instruments as timbales and congas. After more than a decade of growing popularity and critical accolades, he became the first Latin musician to win a Grammy, in 1975, for his album The Sun of Latin Music.