Charlie Palmieri
Credit: Fania Records

Charlie Palmieri


Carlos Manuel “Charlie” Palmieri was born November 21, 1927, and was born in the South Bronx, where he soon found his calling by teaching himself how to play the Piano. At age seven, Charlie was enrolled at The Julliard School and by the time he was 14, he was an award-winning pianist. After graduating from Samuel Gompers High School, he left to join different artists such as Moncho Usera, Polito Galindez, Bartolo Hernandez, and La Playa Sextet. He then organized El Conjunto Pin Pin, recorded for the Alba label, and studied harmony, composition, and arranging with Otto Chesna. In 1951, Palmieri toured with The Xavier Cugat Band, replaced Tito Puente’s pianist, Gil Lopez, and participated in recording sessions for Rainfall, Mambo Diablo, and The Vibe Quintet. After a decade of success, Palmieri joined Al Santiago’s Alegre All-Stars and recorded five albums which were Pacheco (Volume 1), Pachanga at the Caravana Club (1961), Sala Na’ Ma’ (1963), Tengo Maquina y Voy a 60 (1967), and The Giant of the Keyboard (1972). In 1984, Charlie was honored by New York’s Latin Music Industry at Club Broadway where Latin music’s fans were able to pay their respects to one of their most well-liked and beloved sons. Palmieri’s legacy survives through his recordings, videos, and The Charlie Palmieri Memorial Scholarship established by Tito Puente. Charlie was a complete musician, a giant of the keyboard, and drew applause from everyone and remains an icon in the Latin Music genre.

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