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Just look at the cover art of “Superimposition” and you’re reminded of the psychedelic paintings of Peter Maxx, an artist who changed the landscape of visual arts in America during the 1970s. On this album, Eddie Palmieri was changing the landscape of Latin dance music. First, he extended the dance numbers that had–-pre E.P.—been relegated to no more than four minutes on recordings. Next he released an album that featured three hit dance tunes alongside some improvisational Latin jazz numbers.
Eddie Palmieri was making us dance in the 1960s. But by the 1970s, he also was making us think about the world and the music around us. Although the boogalu was still hot with Joe Cuba and Pete Rodríguez rocking the charts, Palmieri remained on fire with hits such as “La Malanga”, “Pa’ Huele”, and “Bilongo”—and driving dancers wild in the process.
Influenced by the traditional style of Cuban tres player Arsenio Rodríguez’s pianist, (Lilí Martínez), Palmieri’s version of “Pa’ Huele” mixes roots with modern rhythms with el hombre de la barba picking out Mary Had a Little Lamb in this son montuno. A strong trumpet solo by Alfredo Chocolate Armenteros highlights this song, which is sung by Ismael Pat Quintana.
Palmieri’s version of Rudy Calzado’s “La Malanga” picks up the original pace, pumps up the volume with some strong brass lines, while boiling the blood with the coals from his fiery rhythm section.
While “Bilongo” was already a hit from Cuba’s past, Palmieri did it again, this time making the tune so much his own that this version freely flows with solos and freewheeling superimpositions over the folkloric matrix. What is truly evident here is how Palmieri creates a level playing field for his musicians to shine. Cuban trumpeter Armenteros takes an historic solo here unmatched in length to any he has performed before. Accompanied by the trombone counterpoint (better known by musicians as a moña), Brazilian José Rodríguez, Palmieri’s “Bilongo” becomes the Latin music standard by which others are measured even today.
Hearing the nascent strains for the future tune Adoración on “Que Lindo Eso, Eh!,” Palmieri leans back, giving musicians room to groove while throwing in a pinch of avant garde feel with sound effects during the percussion and a bowed bass bottom to its percussive layers.
“Chocolate Ice Cream” starts as a laid back cha cha cha. Written by both trumpeter and pianist, Palmieri and Armenteros extend their range of Latin jazz modalities onto the Afro-Cuban rhythms. Palmieri’s studies with guitarist Bob Bianco, which he started when he was already recording Justicia , are heightened, reaching a high point in the following “17.1” number.
The opening of “17.1” features Afro-Cuban rhythms beneath Palmieri’s dissonant piano chord comping. Bassist Andy González makes his debut with Palmieri on this recording where he was brought into the mix by a 19-year-old Nicky Marrero. The 17-year-old Eladio Pérez was on congas with a young and tender 13-year-old Chucky López on bongo. In his highly creative and cerebral fashion, Palmieri came up with the title of the tune by adding up their ages and then dividing that by three.
“Superimposition” becomes the showpiece for Eddie Palmieri’s unusual style, experimental work and musical concepts. Here Palmieri displays his studies into Schillinger’s musical theories while his choice of notes, clave counterpoint, jazz harmonics and modalities, along with the incredibly full and fascinating dance numbers, make Eddie Palmieri the master he is today.
Eddie Palmieri – Piano, Líder
Jose Rodríguez – Trombone
Lewis C. Kahn – Trombone
Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros – Trumpet
Nicky Marrero – Timbales, Percussion Effect (“Chocolate Ice Cream”, “Que Lindo Eso, Eh!”)
Eladio Pérez – Conga
Tommy “Choki” López – Bongo
Israel “Izzy” Feliu – Bass
Andy González – Bass
Roberto Franquiz – Bell
Rudy Calzado – Percussion
Lead Vocal – Ismael Quintana
Chorus – Arturo Campa, Justo Betancourt, Elliot Romero
Invited Guest :
Manny Oquendo – Percussion, Timbales, Bongo
Producer, Coordinator– Miguel Estivill
Engineer – Fred Weinberg (A & R Studios)
Original Album Design and Illustrations – Ely Besalel
Written by Aurora Flores