The Puerto Rican pianist/bandleader Eddie Palmieri has reigned as "The Sun of Latin Music" for fifty years. He innovated salsa music with his two-trombone La Perfecta groups, and his propulsive piano style combines McCoy Tyner’s power and Thelonious Monk’s dark, chordal shadings. On this CD, Palmieri is backed by his long-time combo, augmented by special guest stars. Six of the ten tracks were written by the maestro, including the evocative trio track, "La Gitana" with guitarist John Scofield. But the highlights of this date are Palmieri’s sizzling takes on four jazz classics. The Dizzy Gillespie hit "Tin Tin Deo" is signatured by David Sanchez's Latin-tempoed tenor. Monk’s "In Walked Bud," dances with a Palladium-era pulse. Horace Silver’s "Nica’s Dream" is graced by violinist Regina Carter's sparkling strings and Nicholas Payton's neoclassic trumpet tones. The Eddie Harris-penned title track, with Michael Brecker's Traneish solo and Christian McBride's bold basslines, shows why Mr. Palmieri’s recording represents the finest in Afro-Cubop. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
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