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Eddie Palmieri on Elimination of Latin Jazz Grammy

Legendary pianist, composer and bandleader issues statement about the recent elimination of the Latin Jazz category of the Grammy awards

Eddie Palmieri

“In unity there is strength, conscientious natural musical minds working together, united in thought will constantly deliver power, the drive and the constant search of the individual mind to create, create, create.”

It was in 1965 that I wrote this in the liner notes of my album, Azucar Pa’ Ti, which was one of my most defining compositions in the genre of Latin Jazz. Latin Jazz, originally known as the Instrumental Mambo, happens to be one of the most unique Latin musical forms as it speaks directly to the melding of the African American culture with both the Cuban and Puerto Rican cultures in New York, during a time where we weren’t even allowed to work downtown, (many of the youth do not know this, but in order to work, you had to have a Cabaret card, where the Union and Police could keep an eye on you at all times). This was an era where life was difficult in both Harlem and El Barrio; it was hot, it was exciting, it was ever changing and it eventually melded together and consequently developed into the beautiful and diverse landscape that we know today. It is quite something when I look back on those amazing years, the awe inspiring musical brotherhood that was so dear to me of that time, and it is with great pride that I have seen its legacy continue with so many wonderfully talented musicians throughout the years.

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