Eddie Palmieri

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Pianist/composer Eddie Palmieri has long been a giant of Afro-Cuban (or Latin) jazz. While some recordings in this idiom lean too far in one direction -- not enough jazz improvising, or in other cases, a percussion section that sounds as if it were added on as an afterthought -- Palmieri has struck a perfect balance. In trumpeter Brian Lynch, trombonist Conrad Herwig and altoist Donald Harrison, he has three strong soloists who match well with the trio of percussionists. In addition to Palmieri, bassist John Benitez and drummer Adam Cruz (the latter is on just four of the eight Palmieri originals) are flexible enough to play both swing and Latin. A strong plus to this date are the compositions/arrangements of Palmieri, which pay close attention to varying moods, instrumental colors and grooves. Consistently complex and unpredictable, the music is still always quite accessible and enjoyable, thanks to the percussionists.

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