At age 80, Eddie Palmieri hasn’t lost his spark — and he’s more than happy to prove it onstage.
The Bronx-bred bandleader and pianist will get another chance to dazzle an audience — and play many of his classics — when he opens the 2017-2018 season of the Bronx’s Lehman Center for the Arts with his Salsa Orchestra.
“What we’re going to leave on that stage is concentrated power,” the musician says with his familiar swagger,” “because this is the orchestra that rules.
“And when I arrive along with ‘the Voice of the Caribbean’ (singer Herman Olivera) and the horn section – well, that is nothing but concentrated power, what in Cuba they call ‘gasoline!'”
The show, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 16 (250 Bedford Park Blvd W.; lehmancenter.org) at 7:30 p.m., also includes the Del Caribe Latin Jazz All Stars, led by Cuban pianist Emilio Morales and virtuoso tresero Nelson Gonzalez, with percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo as special guest.
Palmieri has no doubt he’ll be able to keep up with all the younger studs sharing the stage.
“I feel better than ever — incredible but true!” he says. “And like my friend, trumpet player Chocolate Armenteros taught me, after you turn 50, you start counting by ones again, so I guess I’m just 30 years old.”
Besides keeping an active concert schedule — I never rehearse,” he says. “Why would I? The orchestra knows the tunes and I wrote them” — Palmieri keeps writing and recording.
This year, he released “Sabiduría,” an album he doesn’t hesitate to qualify as “the best danceable Latin Jazz record ever.”
Along with sonero Gilberto Santa Rosa, Palmieri also finished another album, “Mi Luz Mayor,” which is dedicated to his late wife and will finally see the light early next year after some contract issues.
But playing his music in the Bronx — the neighborhood where he grew up and where he founded his influential band La Perfecta — always gives him an extra jolt of energy.
“The Bronx is in my soul and my heart,” he says. “The Bronx and I get along very well.”
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