Eddie Palmieri and Jose Madera bring Latin Rhythm to Puget Sound

October 16, 2012


Award-winning artists will perform Thursday, Nov. 1 with Puget Sound’s Jazz Band, led by Tracy Knoop


TACOMA, Wash. – Nine-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Eddie Palmieri and renowned percussionist Jose Madera will join University of Puget Sound Jazz Band for a memorable night of Latin jazz on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus.

The program will be conducted by Puget Sound’s new Jazz Band director, Tracy Knoop. Ticket information and directions to the concert are below.

Puerto Rican pianist Eddie Palmieri has had a legendary career in Latin jazz and salsa for the last 50 years, delighting audiences with his skillful combination of American jazz melodies and the rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage. This year he was recognized with the highest honor that the U.S. government bestows on jazz musicians: the National Endowment for the Arts lifetime achievement honor, the 2013 NEA Jazz Masters award.

Palmieri has been a pioneer in creating the Latin funk style and in popularizing cross-cultural music. In 1975 he was the first artist to win the Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording with his album The Sun of Latin Music. Of the eight Grammys that followed, two were awarded for his 2000 recording with Tito Puente, Obra Maestra (Masterpiece). Critical reviews of his performances brim with praise.

“This is music so vital and joyous … a totally celebratory sound, bouncing, shuffling, weaving, and grooving along on a beat so mesmeric and soul wrenchingly right that you want it to go on forever.” —Time Out, London

“Palmieri looms, in the current landscape of tropical music, as the last of the larger than life giants.” —
Los Angeles Times

Born in Spanish Harlem in New York City, Palmieri first gained recognition playing in orchestras and bands led by Eddie Forester, Johnny Següi, and Tito Rodriguez in the 1950s. With the creation of his own band, La Perfecta, in 1961, he harnessed a unique sound by featuring trombones at the front line instead of the trumpets customarily used in Latin orchestras. His unconventional style would once again surprise critics and his fans with the 1970 release of Harlem River Drive. This recording was the first to merge black and Latin styles, as well as musicians. The album is notable for its free-form sound encompassing elements of salsa, funk, soul, and jazz.

Palmieri has received numerous honors, including an award for Most Exciting Latin Performance, presented by the BBC in London (2002); Yale University’s Chubb Fellowship for his work building communities through music (2002); the Harlem Renaissance Award (2005); and the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). He has been inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, while his work is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution Archives and The Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

Jose Madera is a prolific percussionist, best known for his 31-year involvement with the Tito Puente Orchestra, where he worked as a percussionist and musical arranger before becoming the director. A native of New York City, Madera is the son of Jose “Pin” Madera, who served as the first arranger for the legendary Machito Orchestra.

Madera currently directs the Mambo Legends Orchestra. The band, comprising former members of the Tito Puente Orchestra, is dedicated to performing new, creative Latin jazz concepts. He has collaborated with major artists including Johnny Pacheco, the Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Celia Cruz, Mario Bauzá, Willie Rosario, Earl Klugh, Diana Ross, James Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie. In television and film, he has worked on several soundtracks, including for The Simpsons and the film drama The Mambo Kings.

Tracy Knoop joined Puget Sound in fall 2012 as the new Jazz Band director. A native of the Pacific Northwest, the saxophonist is one of the best-known jazz artists and teachers in the region. After graduating from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Mass., he joined the world-famous Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and toured with them for 10 years.

Knoop has performed with greats such as Louie Bellson, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bernadette Peters, Buddy Rich, and Mel Tormé. He also has played with The Temptations, Four Tops, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He is equally known as an exceptional educator. Knoop was the jazz band director at Pierce College for three years, and continues to teach saxophone and clarinet at Olympic College.

The November 1 Jazz Band event, with guest artists Eddie Palmieri and Jose Madera, is sponsored by University of Puget Sound Cultural Events.

FOR TICKETS: Order online at http://tickets.pugetsound.edu or call Wheelock Information Center to purchase with a credit card at 253.879.6013. Admission is $11 for the general public and $5 for Puget Sound faculty, staff, and students. Remaining tickets will be available at the door.

For directions and a map of the campus: www.pugetsound.edu/directions.xml
For accessibility information please contact accessibility@pugetsound.edu or 253.879.3236.

Press photos of Eddie Palmieri can be downloaded from: www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos

Photos on page: Top right: Eddie Palmieri (courtesy of artist); Above left: Eddie Palmieri (by Juan Cruz); Above left: Jose Madera (courtesy of artist).

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