Grammy award-winning jazz legend hosts weekly Studio Days for Rutgers students
Grammy-award winning pianist, bandleader and composer Eddie Palmieri hosts weekly Jazz Assembly Days at Mason Gross School of the Arts, according to an article by Rutgers Today.
The “Studio Day” is hosted every Monday, with Mason Gross also having occasional Wednesday Visiting Artist Series, which features lectures and clinics from other visiting artists, according to the article.
Palmieri, who was born in 1936 in New York to two Puerto Rican parents, started playing the piano at age 13, according to the article. He originally wanted to play the drums like someone in his brother’s band, but his mom wanted him to play something more sophisticated.
He grew to love the piano so much he eventually studied at Carnegie Hall. According to the article, the piano became his passion.
At his weekly master class, he focuses on the piano, where he discusses the music dynamics of the instrument and how to make it more exciting. After all the different performers finish their performances, they get together and play records and talk, according to the article.
Aside from the piano, the article states that when Palmieri opened up his workshop to other performers and bands, approximately 150 students showed up to learn from him.
“Three bands at Mason Gross — the Jazz Afro-Caribbean Ensemble, led by Bill O’Connell, who teaches jazz composition and arrangement, and Jazz Chamber 2 and 3 — played a few pieces and I gave them my take on what they could do to improve,” he said.
Conrad Herwig, the head of Jazz Studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts and a trombone player, has been Palmieri’s friend for 30 years and recommended he come to Rutgers to help students. According to the article, Palmieri has been coming to the University for the past four years.
Outside of his teaching gig at Rutgers, Palmieri has plans to work on a symphonic pop project with Marc Stasio, the jazz studies coordinator at Mason Gross School of the Arts, according to the article. The project will blend a lot of Latin history, such as the Spanish and African infusion of culture.
Palmieri won nine Grammy awards for his blending of Puerto Rican rhythms with the complexity of jazz music, according to the article. With his innovative sound, he transformed music genres such as Charanga, a Cuban-jazz style.
Palmieri’s advice to students is to focus on preparation, according to the article.
“There is no guess work if they prepare,” he said. “The more you prepare yourself, the better you’ll perform. If you want to make it a career then you’ve got to really dig deeply into whatever genre you want to do.”