Live Footage: Eddie Palmieri Performs Songs from Harlem River Drive

Eddie Palmieri is a legendary, Grammy-winning New York born and -based pianist, composer and bandleader who has released a number of beloved  and highly-regarded Latin funk albums that have pushed the boundaries of what the genre should sound like and concern itself thematically, through renowned labels including Fania Records, Alegre Records, Tico Records, RMM and Concord Picante. Back in 1971, Palmieri along with a new backing band Harlem River Drive wrote and recorded Harlem River Drive, a sociopolitically charged album inspired by the inequality that his fellow Puerto Ricans faced in the New York of the early 1970s — and as a result, the album was a fiery and much-needed protest that featured novelistic lyrics that immersed you into its creators world. Interestingly, the album wasn’t a major commercial success but over the years, it became a cult-favorite album, while being as powerful and relevant today as it was when the album was originally released.

Earlier this year, Red Bull Music Academy invited Palmieri and his backing band to perform the material off Harlem River Drive live for the first time in several decades on what turned out to be a rainy afternoon and evening at Harem’s Marcus Garvey Park — and the folks at NPR’s Jazz Night in America shot some great live footage that includes album title track “Harlem River Drive,” “Seeds of Life” and “Comparasa.” Check it out by clicking on the link above and it’ll lead you to a full-screen embed.