Author: Clay Evans

Jazz legend Eddie Palmieri brings salsa orchestra to Macky April 5

 BOULDER, Colo. — In a half-century career that includes 36 albums, 10 Grammy Awards and hundreds of lively concerts, Eddie Palmieri  — “the Miles Davis of Latin jazz” — has been bringing audiences to their feet with unparalleled energy and effusive musicianship.

“From start to finish, Palmieri (has) the audience dancing in their seats, delighting in the jubilance of the jazz master and his band,” says the Washington Post.

“I love to see people dance,” Palmieri told in 2013. “I love to be happy and make people happy.”

Named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2013, Palmieri will bring his trademark energy and exuberance to Macky Auditorium when he plays with his famous Salsa Orchestra on April 5.

Born in Spanish Harlem in 1936, Palmieri idolized his older brother, the late legendary salsa pianist Charlie Palmieri. He played timbales for his uncle’s orchestra at the age of 13, and hoped to play drums one day. Those early performances still influence his uniquely vibrant keyboard style.

“By 15, it was good-bye timbales and back to the piano until this day,” he says. “I’m a frustrated percussionist, so I take it out on the piano.”

Palmieri is driven to experiment and challenge even as he honors and preserves the core of the Latin orchestral tradition. He admires the great musicians from the heyday of Latin jazz and cites Tito Puente, among others, as influences.

“I listen to the Cuban music of the ’50s and ’60s—a great sound that will never come back. It was perfection of the highest degree for what you can do in our genre. … That’s my musical religion,” he says.

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5

Where: Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder campus

Tickets: $14 and up

Info: or 303-492-8008

Etc: There will be a preconcert conversation at 6:45 p.m. in Macky Room 102 with the CU College of Music’s Keith Waters.