The idea to form a band first occurred to Steve Roitstein in 2002. After years of collaborating with great artists and musicians, he thought it would be fun to put together a project blending his favorite genres: Afro-Cuban music and Funk. He wasn't sure how to pull it off, but he knew he wanted to mix in some funky loops, play keyboards, and feature great musicians and singers. After figuring out some technical stuff he began to think of personnel.
The day that Leslie Cartaya agreed to give the concept a try was one of Steve's luckiest days. As co-founder of PALO!, Leslie and Steve began working on songs and direction. It was obvious that Steve made an excellent choice, but he had no idea Leslie would blossom into the most amazing vocalist on today's Latin music scene. Not only did Leslie help bring Steve's concept to life, their partnership became a true collaboration.
Each Member of PALO! is a virtuoso in their own right. Timbalero Raymer Olalde is one of the most incredible percussionists and energetic performers. A renowned specialist in Yoruba music, Philbert Armenteros' talents as a vocalist, percussionist and composer lift PALO! to a higher level. And the privilege of featuring saxophonist and longtime friend of Steve, Ed Calle is always humbling. Steve can't find enough words to properly express his thanks to his fellow "PALEROS".
In the summer of 2003, Fabio Diaz and Eduardo Lamas, owners of Little Havana's Hoy Como Ayer, came to one of PALO!'s informal rehearsals. The immediately offered PALO! a weekly residency at the club. Steve will always be grateful to "Los Padrinos de PALO!" for believing in them. It was that gig that allowed PALO! to refine their style, and soon the began to be featured in other events throughout South Florida.
As PALO!'s sound developed, they started the process of recording the album "This is Afro-Cuban Funk". Soon, Philip Colodetti became the band's sound engineer, and ultimately, a vital partner in many important aspects of the creation of their first CD. Phil's creative and technical contributions to their first project was extraordinary.