Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar on Truth Revolution Records

Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar is due out October 28, 2022 via Truth Revolution Recording Collective

Led by Louis Fouché, Jonathan Powell, Zaccai Curtis and Luques Curtis, Sonido Solar is a thrilling passage across the Afro-Cuban jazz songbook, bringing together decades of musical collaboration under the guidance of the legendary Eddie Palmieri.

World-renowned pianist and NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri has played alongside immense and gifted leaders over the course of his legendary career. Beyond his status in the realm of salsa and Latin jazz, he is known as one of the finest pianists of this century. Now 85 years old, Palmieri continues to refine his mastery by experimenting with new ensemble settings and sourcing inspiration from a steadfast, younger generation of musical cohorts. A crystallized artistry is encapsulated, both spiritually and sonically, on Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar, due out October 28, 2022 via Truth Revolution Recording Collective. 

Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar
Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar – Louis Fouché, Jonathan Powell, Zaccai Curtis and Luques Curtis

Palmieri, though heard exclusively on tracks 7 and 9, radiates throughout this new enterprise. The celebrated “Sun of Latin Music” passes the torch to lauded mentee Zaccai Curtis, who takes command of the piano on the nonet’s eponymous recording. An extraordinary recruitment of Palmieri mentees include Curtis and his brother, bassist Luques Curtis, alto saxophonist Louis Fouché and trumpeter Jonathan Powell at the helm. Fellow members of various Palmieri-led groups join these four co-leaders, including tenor saxophonist Jeremy Powell, trombonist Joe Fiedler and timbalero/trap drummer Camilo Molina, who is joined in the percussion section by Curtis Brothers band conguero Reinaldo De Jesus and Marcos López on bongos and cowbell.

A towering, 9-track collection of beloved Latin jazz standards and one original composition, Sonido Solar is fueled by the spirit of learning and fashioned by a repertoire with unique influences for each band member. “We wanted to record some of our favorite songs the way they were originally written and give fans the opportunity to listen to real, classic Latin jazz standards,” Luques Curtis shares. Teamwork and camaraderie characterized this unit’s creative process — after selecting what they agreed upon as staples in the Afro-Cuban jazz world at a roundtable discussion, the four bandleaders divided the tunes accordingly, then assigning arrangements to each other. Once they arrived at the recording session, everything was “almost fully-arranged” as Zaccai explains, leaving reserved space for the marvel of improvisation that such a band inherently warrants.

The group’s foray into the illustrious Latin jazz lexicon begins with Zaccai’s arrangement from Cuban danzonero Ernesto Abelardo Valdés. The oldest tune on the date, “Almendra,” was first heard in Valdés’ Orquesta Almendra in a charanga style setting featuring violin and flute. Fast-forwarding to the 21st Century and delving into Chucho Valdés’ AfroCuban Jazz Messengers’ songbook, the ensemble takes on a swinging staple, “Mambo Influenciado.” An expertly-navigated serpentine melodic line offers climactic timbales-conga-bongo exchanges on this co-arrangement by Luques Curtis and Louis Fouché.

Sweltering horn contributions from Jonathan Powell spotlight his arrangement of the Latin jazz classic “Mambo Inn,” recreating the full sound of a big band from this much-smaller 9-piece unit. “Maria Cervantes,” a tune regularly performed and recorded by Eddie’s older brother and piano mentor, the late Charlie Palmieri, follows. A legendary pianist in his own right, Charlie’s tremendous influence is heard through Zaccai Curtis’ arrangement of this Noro Morales original, showcasing an appealing melody and contributing a new layer to the tribute aspect of this recording. “Obsesión” is another album highlight, breathing new air into a beloved standard while capturing Zaccai’s anomalous arranging prowess over a pulsating guaguancó rhythm.

Palmieri is featured on piano for his arrangement of the Tito Puente classic “Picadillo,” enjoying an extended improvisational adventure only bolstered by his all-star rhythmic accompaniment where vigorous trumpet and alto solos ensue. The mambo master Puente is honored once more on Fouché’s arrangement of “Ran Kan Kan.” 

Closing off the recording is the fiery and exclusive original, “Suite 176.” Co-written by Palmieri and Fouché, the track features an exchange between both Zaccai and Palmieri on piano. The suite number ‘176’ imposes a sentimental message, multiplying the 88 keys on a piano by two and thus emphasizing the power of the pair’s synergy. “A fitting finish to this historic encounter between a mentor and his very talented charges,” as Russo Musto describes in the album liner notes.

“I would put my reputation on the line with these musicians and countless others that have graced my performances, but I must say the last decade has rejuvenated me more than ever. The young musicians that are on this musical project have given me the fortitude to write and play piano at another level,” Palmieri shares. Sonido Solar captures an inimitable musical output from a cast of forces who have evolved in unison, accentuating more than their common ground, but a shared penchant for making timeless sounds appear brand new.

Danilo Navas
Danilo Navas
Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, Toronto Music Report. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more