Eddie Palmieri is a bundle of intensity, whether playing his music or talking about it. His volcanic piano style is matched by his rapid-fire speech. When the man who has been called El Rompeteclas (the Keyboard Destroyer) and El Molestoso (the Angry One) speaks, people listen.
"Good music is a question of tension and resistance," says Palmieri, 75, from his home in Queens, N.Y. "It's a matter of rhythmic patterns that excite and lead to a musical climax ... like in love, danger or fear."
Palmieri will bring his 50 years of innovative jazz and Afro-Caribbean music to South Florida when he appears 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Miami Nice Jazz Festival.
The event, which will run from Friday through Sunday at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, also will include vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist and composer Kyle Eastwood (Clint Eastwood's son), French percussionist Andre Ceccarelli and local diva Nicole Henry and the South Florida Jazz Orchestra. This is the first time the festival, based in Nice, France, will be presented in Florida.
Palmieri, who was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, joined the famed Tito Rodríguez Orchestra in 1958. Three years later, he formed his own band, La Perfecta, with, among others, Barry Rogers on trombone and Ismael Quintana on vocals. He became known as temperamental and avant-garde, fusing jazz, blues and rock with guaguancó, rumba and other Latin rhythms.
He also churned out hits and collected Grammys. His award-winning albums include "The Sun of Latin Music," "Unfinished Masterpiece," "Palo Pa' Rumba," "Solito" and "The Truth: La Verdad."
"Good salsa, well executed, is danced around the world. But not today's salsa or pop music. That puts you to sleep," the irascible Palmieri says. "If you have insomnia, I recommend that you listen to that and you will soon fall asleep."
At the festival, Palmieri will be accompanied by trumpet, alto sax, timbales, bongos and bass. He promises — no surprise — an intense performance.
"I don't think that my music is going to make you gozar [which literally means 'to enjoy' but in salsa argot also means 'to dance with abandon']," Palmieri says. "I know it will."
Eddie Palmieri will play the Miami Nice Jazz Festival 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Gusman Center. Tickets: $30-$75. Go to RhythmFoundation.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-356-4087. This story was translated by Deborah Ramírez.