Author:Varela, Jesse
Position:Concert by singer Eddie Palmieri in San Francisco, California


Live at Yoshi's in San Francisco 12.31.08.

New Year's Eve in San Francisco is always a night full of exuberance and ecstatic abandon. During the month of December, 2008 Yoshi's treated the San Francisco Latin community to six nights of Eddie Palmieri & La Perfecta II that culminated on New Year's Eve and brought in 2009 with a rollicking good time.

Palmieri, who turns 75 in December, 2009, is a consummate professional whose band is well acquainted with his leadership style, and whose sidemen are aware that they must deliver their best, collectively and individually. The band warmed up and loosened its chops, as couples quickly drifted onto the dance floor to the sounds of Bilongo, the Cuban classic known for its trademark refrain: "kikirikí mandinga."

Featured on lead vocals for the evening was the debonair Hermán Olivera, whose soulful tenor voice is always swinging and to the point. Eddie stood (and occasionally sat) on a configuration that included the grand piano and a keyboard propped on top. Throughout the evening, his loose and stream-of-consciousness improvisational flows were a highlight and served as credit to his genius.

The rest of the band included the likes of Brian Lynch (trumpet), Doug Beavers and Jimmy Bosch (trombones), Karen Joseph (flute), José Claussell (timbal), Orlando Vega (bongó), Johnny Rivero (congas), Luques Curtis (bass), and Nelson González (tres guitar).

Tu, Tu, Ta, Ta came next and wound up the crowd a little tighter. It was followed by Mi Jeva, which allowed Karen Joseph (wearing a long black gown and her trademark Afro hairdo) to shine as she delivered sweet riffs. Lil Johnny was full of surprises all night long...

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