Palmieri, Charlie

Charlie Palmieri was born on 21 November 1926 in New York City of Puerto Rican parents. He was the pioneer of the Palmieri family in the development of the salsa music genre in which his brother Eddie was later successful as well.

Palmieri was, without a doubt, one of the best pianists in latin music circles. By 1943, during World War II, he played in Pupi Campos’ orchestra. At that time, he also directed the orchestra of the Jack Paar show, for a short while.

Use of the flute, previously introduced in New York by Gilberto Valdés and José Fajardo, was accepted by the dance orchestras, thanks to Palmieri. A lover of jazz and Cuban music, Palmieri also directed the bands of Pupi Campo, Rafael Muñoz, Noro Morales, Tito Puente, Xavier Cugat and Moncho Usera.

Palmieri was known as the “giant of the black and whites” for the voluptiousness of his execution and the forceful style on the keyboard. He made more than 20 long-play recordings over the course of his career. These included Electroduro, with Vista Hace Fe. in its song list, and Gigante del Teclado. He lived many years in Puerto Rico; playing at hotels in San Juan, until he decided to return to New York after suffering a heart attack.

Palmieri died on 12 September, 1988 in New York just before his scheduled tour to the United Kingdom and Japan, in which he was to accompany the famous Cuban conga virtuoso Ramón “Mongo” Santamaría.


Salsa Y Charanga (2000)

La Duboney (1999)

El Gigante del Teclado (1999)

Electroduro (1997)

Echoes of an Era (1996)

Montuno Sessions (1995)

Gigante Hits (1994)

A Giant Step (1984)

Heavyweight (1978)

Perdido (1977)

Con Salsa y Sabor (1977)

Impulsos (1975)

Adelante Gigante (1975)

Vuelve el Gigante (1973)

The Giant of the Keyboard (1972)

Latin Bugalu (1968)

Tengo Maquina y Voy a 60 (1967)

Hay Que Estar en Algo (1967)

Salsa Na' Ma' (1963)

Viva Palmieri (1962)

Pachanga at the Caravana Club [live] (1961)

Charlie Palmieri (1961)

Let's Dance the Charanga! (1960)

Charanga! (1960)

Tribute to Noro Morales (1956)

Lo Ultimo (----)