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Brian Lynch and Eddie Palmieri

by Yung-hsiang Kao

Fresh from winning the 2007 Best Latin Jazz Album Grammy for “Simpatico,” pianist Eddie Palmieri and trumpeter Brian Lynch are bringing their quartet to Japan. The group will play Blue Note Tokyo at its Roots Music Festival before continuing on to the Sapporo City Jazz festival.

Palmieri is a 71-year-old New York legend known for his salsa and Latin-jazz orchestras, while the 50-year-old Lynch is recognized as a sophisticated improviser of old-school bebop and his own Latin-jazz compositions. Two talented sidemen, Boris Kozlov on bass and Dafnis Prieto on drums, form the backbone of the group. Despite Palmieri’s stature in the jazz world, Lynch leads the group, as he did on the “Simpatico” album. His trumpet usually sparks the others with wide-ranging improvs while Palmieri’s piano playing remains subdued.

The band plays more than just Latin-influenced music; fans of straight-ahead jazz will also find something for them. As Lynch says, “I think that to be a straight-ahead jazz musician now means drawing on a wider variety of things than 30 or 40 years ago. Not to play a little bit of this or a little bit of that, but to blend everything together into something that sounds good.” Regardless of genre, that’s all that matters.

The Eddie Palmieri-Brian Lynch Jazz Quartet play Aug. 1-3 (7 & 9:30 p.m.) at Blue Note Tokyo (tel. [03] 5485-0088). Tickets are 8,400 yen. The quartet play Aug. 5 (2 p.m. start) at Sapporo City Jazz’s North Jam Session ’07. Reserved seating is sold out; seats on the lawn area are 4,200 yen. For more information call (011) 592-4125 or visit www.sapporo-cityjazz.com