An Evening with Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta 2
At the Blue Note Jazz Club (December 13, 2009)
Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta 2 wrapped up a week-long engagement at the Blue Note Jazz Club, where they revisited the band’s greatest hits and celebrated El Maestro’s 73rd birthday.
La Perfecta 2 is the reincarnation of Conjunto La Perfecta, which came to be known as La Perfecta and whose over arching mission was “to destroy the dancer’s.” The band reigned supreme from 1961 to 1968 and was notorious for its trademark duo trombone sound and killer rhythm section. La Perfecta is one of the most influential and imitated bands in the history of Latin music. That influence extends to the current members of La Perfecta 2, many of who were weaned on the sounds of La Perfecta.
With the exception of one new tune, titled Japongo (which Palmieri composed for his Japanese fans), the evening’s festivities centered on La Perfecta’s greatest hits. Over the course of two sets the band cranked out hit after hit, including: Muñeca, Cuidate Compay, Suave, Sujetate La Lengua, El Molestoso, Ajiaco Caliente, Lazaro y su Microfono and Tu Tu Ta Ta among others.
Between tunes Palmieri gave the audience a lesson on the history of Latin music and spoke about the inspiration for a number of his compositions. One such source was musician Lázaro Prieto, who was the first Cuban bass player to make use of an amplifier and for whom Palmieri composed the tune, Lázaro y Su Microfono.
Generally speaking jazz clubs forbid dancing and the Blue Note Jazz Club is no exception. So the question becomes, what is an audience to do when they are in an air tight room with one of the hottest dance bands on the planet? The answer? You tap your toes, clap to the rhythm of the clave, sing along with the chorus and boogie to the best of your ability within the confines of your seat.
That aside, La Perfecta 2, namely: Vocalist Herman Olivera, Trumpeter Brian Lynch, Trombonists Conrad Herwig and Jimmy Bosch, Flutist Karen Joseph, bassist Luques Curtis and Percussionist Little Johnny Rivera put on an exciting and impressive performance and though the years may be creeping up on Eddie Palmieri his “chops” are none the worse for wear. His montunos were tasty and he still roars, or rather growls, like the lion of old.
As Palmieri wrote in a recent newsletter, “After the age of 50 you start counting backwards by one,” which if my math is correct, makes Palmieri 23 years young. Though the nine-time Grammy winner is officially an elder statesman, his music remains timeless. Thank you Maestro for keeping it real and doing it your way with no apologies. Asi Se Toca!