A Night To Remember, Part One
by Alvin Berrios
On a chilly Saturday night, on the 10th of November, as you walked into the Lehman College Performing Arts Center in the Bronx, New York (known to many as the ‘Mecca of the Bronx’) the aroma in the air was all about ‘el maestro’ Eddie Palmieri and the nostalgic night that was about to unfold.
The night was split into two parts with the first being a tribute to his brother, the late great, Charlie Palmieri who would have been 91 years this month as the night turned into an emotional evening for both Eddie and the fans there in attendance.
The Uprising All Stars, directed by trombonist Jimmy Bosch, consisted of Herman Olivera as lead vocalist on some of Charlie’s best “Pare Cochero”, Chocolate”, “La Hija De Lola”, “La Llave”, and the Alegre All Star theme that featured some of New York’s finest musicians: Nelson Gonzalez proving once again why he is one the world’s best tresistas, timbalero Carlos Molina, conguero Little Johnny Rivero (working on a new recording for Uprising Music), trumpeter Jonathan Powell, bongocero Anthony Carrillo, trombonist Doug Beavers (also working on a new CD), trumpeters John Walsh & Brian Lynch, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, Ivan Renta, Louis Fouche, Jeremy Powell & Gary Sumlyan and Quique Gonzalez (son of Nelson Gonzalez) on coro.
Bassist Luques Curtis drove the rhythm and Zaccai Curtis did a superb job as one of the soloists on the first three tracks of this first set.
The second set was the highlight of the evening, a tribute to the first Salsa Grammy award winning recordings by Eddie and Lalo Rodriguez, “The Sun of Latin Music” and “Unfinished Masterpiece” in 1974 and 1975. The fans were delighted with the performance by Lalo Rodriguez and Eddie Palmieri in what shocked many fans only the second time they performed together on stage in the past 40 years since the release of the classic recordings. Jose Madera, of Tito Puente fame, was the musical director for this second set that included the famous hits “Un Dia Bonito”, “Nada De Ti”, “Nunca Contigo”, “Oye Lo Que Te Conviene” and the bolero “Deseo Salvaje” Lalo wrote, at age 14, for a young lady in grade school.
The concert celebrated one of the most successful partnerships on record (vinyl) in the history of classic Salsa. As fans we were also treated to the presence to probably the best arranger of all time who played with the Palladium Three: Machito, Tito Puente & Tito Rodriguez…Ray Santos who is 90 years old and still arranging for Eddie’s latest CD “Mi Luz Mayor”.
Listening to Lalo’s voice was vintage and Eddie’s piano took us all back in time to when the recordings debuted on our turntables and New York radio.
Thanks to Edward Palmieri and Lehman Colleges Media Consultant, Leah Gramatica, & the staff at the Lehman College Performing Arts Center for all their attentions and relentless work to make sure the event was the success it was.