You’ve probably heard of Eddie Palmieri, the multiple Grammy-winning pianist who is still active and enjoying a career that has led to him becoming one of the stars of Latin jazz. But did you know he had an older brother — Charlie — who died in 1988, and was pretty darn good too? In fact, at one point he was known as ‘The Giant of the Keyboards’.
Nine years older than Eddie, Carlos ‘Charlie’ Manuel Palmieri was born in New York to Puerto Rican immigrants, and was so gifted that his parents found a way to get him started on a classical music education at age seven. By the time World War II was well underway he’d reached his mid-teens, and was beginning to show up in stage shows, eventually bringing young Eddie into the act too.
As an adult in the post-war years, Charlie really began to bloom professionally. By then he’d fully embraced the music of his heritage, and it wasn’t long before he was working with stars like Tito Puente and eventually even leading groups (which sometimes included Eddie). It was the beginning of a long period of solid achievement that included numerous live appearances along with lots of good-selling records, although he would change his style from time to time to keep up with trends in Latin music.
Charlie had his share of ups and downs and in the late 1960s almost suffered a mental breakdown, but he soon rebounded and spent the next decade again pursuing his musical passions. Following his muse, he moved to Puerto Rico for a few years in the early 1980s but then his health began to deteriorate. He subsequently suffered a heart attack on a brief visit to New York, where he would pretty much stay for the remaining years of his life. He did remain musically active though, and once even ventured to Great Britain to appear. He was almost 61 when he suffered another heart attack and died in 1988.
Charlie Palmieri – “Adios”