After five Grammys and over 25 recordings of salsa and jazz, pianist Eddie Palmieri has very little left to prove. Which is perhaps why this new album of original compositions and arrangements--his first purely instrumental album--while ensemble-perfect, is largely uninspiring.
In this octet format, Palmieri blends Latin percussion (with the piano acting almost entirely as the percussion instrument it is) with jazz winds and brass. And while each tune firmly establishes a feel-good Latin rhythm, there is little venturing out or variation, not only within each song but also in the record as a whole. The album starts off with a bang with its signature piece, but what follows are mainly variations on "Palmas."