Palmieri Wanted Andy for “Sun of Latin Music”


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During the 2023 Mastercard Jazz Fest in Puerto Rico, Eddie Palmieri shared that he originally wanted Andy Montañez as the singer for his album “The Sun of Latin Music“.

Palmieri’s Story of “The Sun of Latin Music

During one of the breaks between songs, the 86-year-old Latin music icon shared with the audience how he pursued Andy Montañez to be the lead singer in “The Sun of Latin Music“.

Andy Montañez at MC Jazz Fest 2023, the topic of The Sun of Latin Music.
Andy Montañez salutes the audience at the Mastercard Jazz Fest 2023, with Eddie Palmieri’s band on stage behind.

It turns out that Andy Montañez was in the audience at the Mastercard Jazz Fest. Actually, we ran into him in the hall and he graciously allowed me to take a photo of him with my wife. Eddie must have known he was in the audience, as he also knew Jerry Rivas was there as well.

Upon saluting these two singers, Eddie remembered and shared with the audience the story of how he pursued Andy to sing in “The Sun of Latin Music“.

Once Ismael Quintana decided to leave the Eddie Palmieri orchestra to pursue a solo career, Palmieri was in need of a singer for his then-new album. He thought that Andy Montañez would be a great voice for the album, and approached “el niño de Tras Talleres”, who was eager to do it. However, since Andy was with El Gran Combo then, they needed the consent of El Gran Combo’s director Rafael Ithier.

Ithier apparently would’ve agreed to let Andy sing a song or two in the album, but not the whole album. That wouldn’t solve Palmieri’s problem. But Eddie shared with the audience that he understood Ithier’s position and that there were no hard feelings about the whole thing.

Palmieri continued his search for a singer for the album, and that’s when he discovered Ubaldo “Lalo” Rodríguez, a young 16-year-old from Carolina, Puerto Rico, with a fantastic voice. And as you know, the rest is history.

Eddie Palmieri at the Mastercard Jazz Fest

Palmieri continues to play at a high level with this Latin Jazz band. He continues to play with longtime bandmembers Luques Curtis, bass; Little Johnny Rivero, congas; Camilo Molina on drum set, and Brad Mason on trumpet, with guests Jimmy Bosch on trombone, and Ivan Renta on sax.

Palmieri looked frail when walking, needing some assistance, but not when sitting in front of the piano. His interactions with the public were sharp and his playing continues to be superb.

Eddie Palmieri is one of our Latin music icons that remains from the times before Salsa.

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