The Puerto Rican pianist/bandleader Eddie Palmieri has reigned as "The Sun of Latin Music" for fifty years. He innovated salsa music with his two-trombone La Perfecta groups, and his propulsive piano style combines McCoy Tyners power and Thelonious Monks dark, chordal shadings. On this CD, Palmieri is backed by his long-time combo, augmented by special guest stars. Six of the ten tracks were written by the maestro, including the evocative trio track, "La Gitana" with guitarist John Scofield
. But the highlights of this date are Palmieris sizzling takes on four jazz classics. The Dizzy Gillespie hit "Tin Tin Deo" is signatured by David Sanchez's
Latin-tempoed tenor. Monks "In Walked Bud," dances with a Palladium-era pulse. Horace Silvers "Nicas Dream" is graced by violinist Regina Carter's
sparkling strings and Nicholas Payton's
neoclassic trumpet tones. The Eddie Harris-penned title track, with Michael Brecker's
Traneish solo and Christian McBride's
bold basslines, shows why Mr. Palmieris recording represents the finest in Afro-Cubop. --Eugene Holley, Jr.