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Seleno Clarke honored, Shanto, Eddie Palmieri

Ron Scott | 7/9/2012, 3:44 p.m.

Shanto's manager, Baba Hru-Ur, stated the event was a celebration and fundraiser for the group's Trinidad tour, set for July. Noted percussionist Menes de Griot, known throughout Brooklyn and internationally, is the group's mentor. "These young men are like family. I watched them grow up with my grandson, who is the drummer," he said

Menes de Griot assists them with their music while he instructs them on the business of music and its roots from an African history perspective. He lent his expertise as an established percussionist to the group's performance. International singer-composer Okaru Lovelace also joined them for one song to the delight of the audience.

To learn more about Shanto and their upcoming debut CD in July, visit them online at Facebook.com/menesdegriot.

Eddie Palmieri, "The Godfather of Salsa and Latin Jazz," celebrated his 75th birthday with hundreds of devoted fans last week at the River to River Festival in Lower Manhattan in Rockefeller Park. Palmieri's hypnotic, rhythmic beats had the crowd dancing in no time. His playing was so intense he had to change keyboards. Years ago, the pianist shared with me during an interview that he was a "frustrated drummer."

The temperature that evening was over 90 and the band was blazing at over 100. Palmieri played with his usual fiery crew: trombonist Conrad Herwig, Jose Claussell on timbales, "Little Johnny" Rivera on congas, trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, bassist Luques Curtis, saxophonist Louis Fouche, Orlando Vega on bongos and guest trumpeter Philip Dizack.

The crowd shouted out salsa tune requests, but Palmieri replied, "This is a Latin jazz concert. If you want salsa, hum the tunes to yourself. If I sing, everyone will go jump in the river." When he finally gave in, the crowd went bananas.

From "Azucar Pa' Ti," the salsa anthem recorded in 1965, to this 75th birthday, Palmieri remains the explosive genius maestro. To hear samples of his new music, go to EP75.com.