Eddie Palmieri / Tito Puente

Masterpiece/Obra Maestra

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For anyone wondering when the two most luminary voices in New York Latin jazz would finally join forces, even if for just a moment, the 2000 release of Masterpiece/Obra Maestra is the answer. A collaboration between big-band Latino king Tito Puente and salsa/jazz great Eddie Palmieri is the stuff that clave dreams are made of. Both taking turns as writing/conductor/performer, Palmieri and Puente affect each other's artistry in an infinitely satisfying way. Puente fans will delight in the addition of salsa-driven choro and sonero, unquestionably the handiwork of his counterpart. Palmieri enthusiasts will certainly notice and appreciate the indisputably Puente-penned sexy horn lines and band sound. Who but the mighty RMM label could have either conceived or produced such promising pursuit? Like a modern-day Fania, RMM can be credited with some of the most innovative and impacting projects of its time. The band sound is rich and sultry, featuring both the unmistakable virtuosity of Palmieri's solo work and the incendiary fury of Puente, the undisputed timbal master. If there is one flaw to be found in Masterpiece/Obra Maestra, it is that it was not followed up with dozens of more joint ventures from these towering musical giants.

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