For anyone familiar with the life and career of Charlie Palmieri, it is no secret that he was a pianist's pianist, but a master in his day. Not only was he an authoritative voice in Latin American piano styles, but an accomplished classical player; not only a fine arranger and ensemble player, but an inspired soloist. Never has that been so clear as on his 1984 release Giant Step. After hearing the record, one might wonder if the leap referenced in the title is one Palmieri made, or one he's asking of his audience. For those familiar with his work in the salsa world, this record could require stepping up to another level, taking a giant step in listening. Though quite palatable, as he's joined by an understated, tasteful rhythm section, the melodic and harmonic ideas explored distinguish Palmieri as one of the great creative Latino voices. His technical prowess is truly astounding, as he flexes muscles that only develop after a lifetime of dedicated study. With a variety of styles represented, including tango, bolero, cha cha and of course mambo, Giant Step is a well balanced and enjoyable listen. Though Charlie Palmieri has a large and impressive discography, this disc could be the one that best synopsizes his genius.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez