Palmieri debuted on Concord last year with the beautiful album La Perfecta II. This follow-up is equally pleasing.

Palmieri debuted on Concord last year with the beautiful album La Perfecta II. This follow-up is equally pleasing. The mambo "La Voz del Caribe" opens the set. The jazz montuno "Granpa Semi-Tone Blues" follows. Both are impeccable, fiery performances that set the standard for Ritmo Caliente. Palmieri's rich lyricism finds an ideal expression with the tune "Tema Para Reneé." His innovative touch is dramatically showcased by "Gigue (Bach Goes Batá)," an amazing fusion of J.S. Bach and batá arranged by Palmieri and trumpeter Brian Lynch. It would be hard to overstate the excellence of Ritmo Caliente. Palmieri's material is rootsy and passionate, and his orchestra's members sound like they're having a blast. Their level of enthusiasm is contagious.—PVV

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