By Ned Sublette
“There was the mambo,” said Eddie Palmieri from his piano bench onstage at the Blue Note a few years ago, “and after that there was the cha-cha-cha. And after that there was the pachanga. And after that there was nothing.” Palmieri was talking about the way new styles stopped coming into the US from the music capital of Havana after the Cuban Revolution of January 1, 1959. It was an ironic, or perhaps a modest thing for Palmieri to say, because what there was after the mambo, the cha-cha-cha, and the pachanga was… Eddie Palmieri.