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Hear percussive piano and Latin jazz from Eddie Palmieri at Scullers

The salsa music pioneer will be in Boston Dec. 10 and 11.

Eddie Palmieri. Erik Valind / palmierimusic.com

It’s been 60 years since New York-based Eddie Palmieri, then in his mid-20s and already an outstanding pianist, first became a band leader. He named the group La Perfecta, and presented a style that took the sounds of American jazz, then bundled them together with Afro-Caribbean music. He also put multiple trombone players in the lineup, making La Perfecta one of the early purveyors of what would become known as salsa music.

Palmieri, a fiery and percussive performer at the keyboard, was off and running, always keeping the Latin roots of his family’s Puerto Rican heritage upfront, all the while welcoming the influences of piano greats including Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock, and constantly searching for new directions in his music. Over the decades, he’s incorporated straight-ahead jazz, funk, soul, and big band.


Palmieri has won 10 Grammy Awards, his songs have been heard in the films “Carlito’s Way” (“Muneca”) and “Crooklyn” (“Puerto Rico”), and in 2013, the National Endowment of the Arts honored him with the coveted Jazz Master Award.

At 84 years old, and as active as ever on the club and concert scene and in the recording studio, Palmieri returns to Scullers Jazz Club, this time with his Latin Jazz Band, on Dec. 10 and 11. Though no official set list has been released, it’s a good bet that he’ll choose selections from his three most recent albums: “Mi Luz Mayor,” “Sabiduria,” and “Full Circle.”

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