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Piano maestro Eddie Palmieri is celebrating the golden anniversary of his career in music, and Listen Here! applies his singular style to straight-ahead jazz. The all-star lineup he has assembled weaves his wonderful arrangements of originals and standards seamlessly into the Latin idiom.
Regina Carter's violin dances along the salsa rhythm of "In Flight, with trumpeter Brian Lynch and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison deftly trading fours, eighths, and sixteenths. Swinging tenor work by Michael Brecker and Christian McBride's pumping bass are highlights of the title track. Palmieri is frequently touted as "the Latin Monk, and his solo on this cut recalls Monk's idiosyncratic use of time, space, and chords. The waltz "Vals Con Bata features a sultry tenor solo by David Sanchez, and John Scofield adds some Wes Montgomery-like octaves to the mix on electric guitar. "Tema Para Eydie is an exquisite duet with rumbling pizzicato bass by John Benitez complementing Palmieri's sparkling left hand runs.
Palmieri's arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's "Tin Tin Deo, with Sanchez on tenor, expands on and deepens the Latin influence that Diz used as his base. "In Walked Bud, a Monk classic, begins as a mambo, with Conrad Herwig and Donald Harrison adding brass and reed flourishes, then shifts to Afro-Cuban, with percussion by Horacio "El Negro Hernandez.
Scofield paints a finely nuanced flamenco sketch on "La Gitana as Palmieri fills the spaces with Tyneresque block chords and single note lines. Carter returns for some more fine fiddlin' on "Nica's Dream, adding some pizzicato licks to go with her quicksilver arco. "Mira Flores is a lovely waltz with a fine arrangement and solid sax work by Brecker and fine plucking by McBride. The final tune, "E.P. Blues, features hot solos by Lynch, Harrison, and Nicholas Payton; relentless percussion by Hernandez and Giovanni Hidalgo and a torrid statement by Palmieri provide the exclamation point.
Palmieri is secure and content enough to let musicians more familiar with the straight-ahead language to do their thing, and he has tailored his arrangements so that everyone has ample room to stretch out. Listen Here! shows that experience and time haven't stunted Palmieri's growth one bit.
Track Listing: 1)In Flight; 2)Listen Here; 3)Vals Con Bata; 4)Tema Para Eydie; 5)Tin Tin Deo; 6)In Walked Bud; 7)La Gitana; 8)Nica's Dream; 9)Mira Flores; 10)E.P. Blues
Personnel: Eddie Palmieri--Piano; John Benitez--Bass; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez--Drums; Giovanni Hidalgo--Percussion; Michael Brecker--Tenor Saxophone; Regina Carter--Violin; Christian McBride--Bass; Nicholas Payton--Trumpet; David Sanchez--Tenor Saxophone; John Scofield--Electric, Acoustic Guitars