Though Chucho Valdes would probably disagree, Harlem-born pianist Eddie Palmieri rules the Latin jazz world. Playing professionally since the Eisenhower administration, Palmieri has always been pushing the music forward. Of course, at times, hubris has gotten the best of him. Wanting to be considered an ARTIST, he has lost his audience on many occasions in the murky ether of his mind. Fortunately, on Ritmo Caliente, Palmieri doesn’t get too eccentric. Even on “Gigue (Bach Goes Batá),” where he gets a little classical on us, he reaches back to his roots to make the song an utter delight.
Aside from that slight, pleasurable digression, Palmieri delivers an incredibly entertaining album. Ritmo Caliente is a Latin explosion that could blow up any party. You’ll be cha-cha-chaing the whole night through. The band is tight and jabs you constantly with their percussive sound. The percussion is phenomenal and contagious. Palmieri, of course, rules the keys. You, like the piano, will bow in supplication to the man’s power and revel at his every whim. This album is a kinetic euphoria to be appreciated to the very last drop — of sweat.
Concord Records: http://www.concordrecords.com