During his career, Eddie Palmieri hasn't seemed completely comfortable unless he's allowing others to challenge him. It was true at the beginning of his career when he revolutionized Latin music with his charanga, the La Perfecta ensemble; it was true during the mid-'60s when he recorded two respected dates with Cal Tjader; it was true during the '60s and '70s when he energized the Latin superstar band, the Fania All-Stars; and it was still true in early 2005 when he recorded Listen Here! Released on Concord Picante, it sees an array of excellent jazz instrumentalists sharing solo space with his regular group. First up is Regina Carter, not a natural fit for a Latin group by anyone's estimation, but still a master musician whose sprightly violin proves surprisingly sympathetic with Palmieri's tough salsa unit (and she hangs on easily when the band kicks in to a hardcore salsa halfway through). Tenor Michael Brecker and bassist Christian McBride also prove up to the task on the title track, a salsa re-imagination of Eddie Harris' near-standard "Listen Here." Elsewhere, Palmieri gets several chances to extend his arranging chops, by translating a trio of real standards -- "Tin Tin Deo," "In Walked Bud," "Nica's Dream" -- for his group.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush