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July/August 2005

Eddie Palmieri
Listen Here!
Concord Records

After revisiting his legendary Nuyorican songbook for La Perfecta II and Ritmo Caliente, 68-year-old pianist Eddie Palmieri takes on four compositions by his jazz heroes and adds six of his own Latin-jazz pieces to fill out Listen Here. Though largely restrained throughout, the man nicknamed "The Latin Monk" for his crashing, clustered chords does offer moments of dissonant keyboard banging that often turn into straight rhythm or are quickly enhanced with danceable big-band style horn work and hand-slapping percussion courtesy members of an extensive all-star cast put together for the album with co-producer/A&R man Richard Seidel.

Palmieri and tenor man David Sanchez do a nice mambo take on Dizzy Gillespie's "Tin Tin Deo," while violinist Regina Carter and saxophonist Donald Harrison forcefully take control of the maestro's East Harlem improvisation "In Flight." But the true jewels here are the selections where Palmieri, aided by the likes of guitarist John Scofield and bassist John Benitez, goes beyond his standard mesh of Palladium tunefulness and Birdland cacophony. On the bolero "Tema Para Eydie" and the flamenco-influenced "La Gitana" the master caresses the keys, creating a gorgeous Caribbean-meets-classical sound.

Originally published in July/August 2005
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