Eddie Palmieri Brings Down The House at Koerner Hall in Toronto

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra

There is something very special about sharing a moment in time and space with a legend, an artist –a consummate musician- who has transcended the natural state of being a mere mortal to become a superhero in the eyes of many people. A man whose accomplishments put him on higher ground, and whose legacy touches and influences other artists, musicians, dancers… and listeners whose spirits get lifted with joy and pleasure through his artistry.

That man is NEA Jazz Master, multiple Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Eddie Palmieri.

On Saturday, May 9, 2015, an audience that packed Koerner Hall experienced the first concert ever of Maestro Eddie Palmieri in Toronto. His aural presence filled the magnificent wooden hall. His role as entertainer went hand in hand with his role as educator, providing details and historical accounts about the music, setting up the stage for the themes being interpreted.

As part of the Royal Conservatory Special Music of the Americas, TD Jazz: A Salute to the Big Bands Series, Mr. Eddie Palmieri, founder of the now legendary bands “La Perfecta” and “La Perfecta II,” brought his Salsa Orchestra to Toronto, opening up the concert with a very emotional solo piano piece dedicated to his late wife, Iraida Palmieri. After this first theme, song after song from Mr. Palmieri’s extensive, and now classic songbook were revisited by a tight band following their charismatic leader. Muñeca, Palo Pa’Rumbá, Pa’La Ocha Tambó, Oyelo Que Te Conviene, Azucar Pa’Ti… filled the night with irresistible sincopated rhythms that made it hard for the audience to keep still on their seats. The great sonero Hermán Olivera projected his potent voice on top of the cascade of notes emanating from Eddie Palmieri’s piano, the melodic tres guitar riffs of Nelson González, the solid bass work of Luques Curtis, the exhilarating horn section integrated by Conrad Herwig, Joe Fiedler, Louis Fouché and Jonathan Powell, and a thunderous explosion of rhythm, “Little Johnny” Rivero on congas and Camilo Molina on timbales. It was indeed a night to remember.

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
  • Eddie Palmieri, leader & piano
  • Conrad Herwig, trombone
  • Joseph Fiedler, trombone
  • Hermán Olivera, lead vocals
  • Nelson González, tres guitar & vocals
  • Luques Curtis, bass
  • Louis Fouché, alto sax
  • Jonathan Powell, trumpet
  • Vincent “Little Johnny” Rivero, congas
  • Camilo Molina, timbales
Photos by Atael Weissman (click on photos to enlarge)
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


  1. Not at all. They may not be the same members as in previous bands, but this ensemble was as powerful and inspired as previous ones.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

Featured Posts

Pablo Ziegler: The Pianist That Caresses Our Listening

"Tango is a musical style that must constantly evolve and not be some ridiculous folklore to lure tourists" - Astor Piazzolla The celebrated Argentinian pianist...

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...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more