What a great kickoff for the 2007 Discover Jazz Festival! Eddie Palmieri has been a personal favorite for some years--if someone had bootlegged his cradle sounds, I'd have to have a copy--and his return to the Flynn mainstage is long overdue.
With the excellent Brian Lynch (trumpet) and Conrad Herwig (trombone) up front for over a decade, Palmieri has brought his ensemble to the forefront of contemporary Latin jazz. Wildly colorful and rhythmically alive, his concert and recording (check Palmas and Arete from the mid-1990s) high points are usually his keyboard solos. Free ranging and complex, often exhausting and bewildering, they are breathtaking extended flights of invention, a thrill for free jazz as well as mainstream audiences.
The DJF is a celebration, and this will be an energetic start to ten days of (mostly) jazz. The only trouble is, once the party's over the offerings become rather sparse for the rest of the long year. Headliners predominate, while many established national and local artists find it hard going: Where are the gigs? Where are the venues? Where's the audience?
But more on that later. I'm not out to poop the party before it starts. I'll be there on June 1 eager for the music. See y'all.