Martin Luther King Jr. once said Jazz speaks for life. This is triumphant music. Afro Caribbean Jazz paved its way through the beginning of time areas of Cuba, Africa and specifically in the Caribbean. Jazz is formed by a unique blend of musical styles coming from different cultures, specifically African and European (Wilkins-Jazz Music) It was not till later then the blends of Jazz and Caribbean music era began. Eddie Palmieri a composer and pianist is the contributor to the sound of Afro Caribbean Jazz. Palmieri was born in El Barrio, Spanish Harlem in New York, Eddie Palmieri overtime landed gigs with artist such as Tito Rodriguez, with experience he blended sounds creating his style that marries a soul-jazz funkiness with the traditional dance rhythms of Cuban pianist Luis Grinan (tropicancarribean-history). He later created his own band called Conjunto La Perfecta that was composed of the singer Ismael Quintana and trumpeter Alfredo Armenteros, the band La Conjuto La Perfecta was to be believed the the most influential and innovative bands of the time. Eddie Palmieri unconventional approach to orchestration is best reflected in his replacing La Perfecta’s trumpets with the trombone section, which was a unique thing in Latin music back then (Valamar Jazz). In 1971 the first hit release called Harlem River Drive this composed of jazz, salsa, funk and soul. Harlem River Drive has a feel within its lyrics that signifies the inequalities of modern society. The album Harlem River Drive was stated to be believed about hard truths, playing prisons and speaking to the common man (waxpoetics). Harlem River Drive is a parkway street in New York, Manhattan unifying the difficulties and adversity of Harlem.
Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive album employed members of Aretha Franklin’s band, alongside some of the most important Latin musicians and Jazz soloist of the day, such as Ronnie Cuber, Bary Rogers, and Bernard Purdie (Washnurne- music academy). Eddie Palmieri goal was to unify the black and Spanish communities of that time that were suffering from social iniquities. Music in the album such as Seeds of Life, Broken Home, and If we had peace today all had a funk and groove to the melody. In 1963 Palmieri’s reputation as a pioneering and uncompromising artist grew (music academy), the hit El Molestoso it compromised of his artistic vision that had an upbeat rhythm to it that makes you want to get up and dance. Shortly after the Harlem River Drive Eddie Palmieri recorded over 40 albums and won his first ever Grammy is the category Best Latin Recording and continually winning eight more Grammy’s after that. Eddie Palmieri has definitely made his mark into the jazz community, In 2013 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award which is the highest honor an American Jazz artist can receive (Washnurne- music academy). Eddie Palmieri has moved audiences with his music both physically and mentally for the better. Afro-Caribbean Jazz consisted of three main instruments congas, bongos, and the timbales was the start of the percussion. The first band to explore Afro-Cuban (Caribbean) perspective in compositional work was The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite by Chico O’Farrell.
The first Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite is celebrated for the presence of Bird, who sat in the alto saxophone section and blew his famous choruses four minutes into Mambo (Gama-Latin jazz). Throughout the song there are sections that are compromised into a dramatic and romantic parts. It was a couple years later when Chico O’Farrill create their second Afro-Cuban (Caribbean) Jazz suite. This Second Suite is marked by distinctively darker colors right at the onset of the first movement. The five trumpets heed the clarion calling of the three trombones, while the bongos keep the pulse of the piece going (Gama-Latin jazz). Listening to both suites, one and two both sound very similar to each other that create a similar movement. Both musicians within their bands have made huge contributions into the Jazz world. Eddie Palmieri a composer and finest pianists. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of jazz influences (Palmieri music). Eddie Palmieri professional career has taken off with various bands that was composed with trombones rather than the trumpets compared to other orchestras. These examples are what created the beautiful sounds of jazz into Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Palmieri has received numerous honors not only Grammy awards such as the Eubie Blake Award, Yale University’s Chubb Fellowship, Harlem Renaissance Award and much more recognizable awards and honors (Palmieri music). Eddie Palmieri has continued as an active musician and contain and active recording schedule.
Chico O’Farrell a Cuban composer, arranger and conductor has truly made an impact into the Afro-Cuban (Caribbean) Jazz community. O’Farrell created bands that were labeled as top American bands. With recording numerous songs Chico O’Farrell was seen as A master who blended Jazz, European Classical and Afro-Caribbean rhythms created one of the most impressive and respective big band sounds of any era (IMNB). Chico O’Farrell was later awarded a Grammy for his album called Pure Emotion, he has truly left a legacy of excellence in the Jazz community that has influenced many generations of musicians and bands. Throughout time as we look into today’s generation and society different music genres have evolved in the concept of how music is written, listened too and transformed into. Jazz has evolved in the way of different melodies within culture such as Afro-Caribbean, Japanese and Hungarian Jazz. Afro-Caribbean Jazz is still well known and played today in bands and festivals. Duke Ellington once said Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.
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