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Eddie Palmieri

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Eddie Palmieri (born December 15, 1936), is a Grammy Award winning Puerto Rican pianist, bandleader and musician, best known for combining jazz piano and instrumental solos with Latin rhythms.

Palmieri’s parents migrated to New York from Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1926, and settled down in the South Bronx, a largely Hispanic neighborhood. Both he and his older brother, the late Charlie Palmieri, were born in New York. When he was only 8 years old, he would musically accompany Charlie and together they entered and participated in many talent contests.

Palmieri attended elementary school at PS 52 and continued his education in the city’s public school system where he was constantly exposed to music, specifically jazz. He took piano lessons for and performed at Carnegie Hall when he was 11 years old. His biggest piano influences were Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner. He was inspired by his older brother and was determined to someday form his own band - something he achieved in 1950, when he was just 14. During the 1950s, Palmieri played in various bands, including Tito Rodríguez’s.

In 1961, Palmieri formed the band Conjunto La Perfecta, which included trombone player Barry Rogers and singer Ismael Quintana. During that decade, the Charanga was the Latin dance craze. The music to the Charanga required an orchestra with a flute and violins, but Palmieri also added a mixture of trumpets and trombones. He also experimented by including a touch of jazz in his recordings. He recorded, among others, Lo Que Traigo Es Sabroso (What I Bring is Juicy) and Mozambique, before the group disbanded in 1968.

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