Episode 25 of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with pianist Eddie Palmieri. Palmieri is a legendary figure: His composition “Azúcar” is a landmark in Latin music history. It’s over nine minutes long, with extended instrumental solos, a pioneering Latin jazz number that’s part of the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry. He was also awarded the first Grammy for Latin music for his album The Sun of Latin Music. He’s been a supporter of a variety of political causes during his career, and in the late ’60s and early ’70s did a lot of shows in prisons, including recording an album at Sing Sing and another one at the University of Puerto Rico in the heat of political unrest there.
In this interview, we talk about a broad range of subjects, including many of his classic records, his troubles within the music industry over the years, his thoughts on Latin music’s future, his love of jazz, and much much more.