When I began photographing the Miami and South Florida music circuit in May 2015, it was recommended to me (forgive me I don’t remember who exactly) that I photograph the group Palo. The moment presented itself on February 19 at Ball and Chain. Simply expressing myself to say that I was blown away at the five-member ensemble is an extreme understatement. I was flabbergasted beyond my imagination over the high level of musicianship of Steve Roitstein (producer and pianist), Leslie Cartaya (vocalist and the voice of an angel in my opinion), Dr. Ed Calle (saxophone), Philbert Armenteros (congas) and Raymer Olalde (timbales).
The group began in 2003 and over the years they have performed in front of audiences all over the globe. I’d give anything to follow them on tour in 2017 by the way. The number one thing that resonated with me when their set began was the groove that was established. For some of you who may or may not know, I too am a musician (saxophone specifically) and have been for most of my life. When I heard Dr. Calle improvise on saxophone, I had no words to describe what I was hearing. I STILL don’t have words to describe his saxophone virtuosity. If I may express that he is “The Man” and “The Game” to define Dr. Calle’s saxophone acumen by using a couple of pro wrestling catch phrases.
Following their Ball and Chain show, I introduced myself to Dr. Calle and told him that he is Yoda on saxophone. He laughed, smiled and shook my hand. The Grammy award-winning artist recently performed at Pinecrest Gardens with his own solo project.
Ten days later, Palo performed at the Hialeah Park Racing and Casino for a one-set performance. The open-air show drew a good and receptive audience. What made the presentation extra special was the intimate ambiance the venue had set up. Everyone was at ground-level and was close to the stage. So the fans in attendance could literally reach out and touch the band. I would later photograph them a couple of more times and it has always been a memorable experience.