Tito Puente was one of the most influential Latin musicians of the 20th century. Born in Harlem, New York, in 1923, he began his career as a percussionist in the late 1940s, playing with some of the top Latin bands of the time. Over the next several decades, he became known as the King of Latin Music, releasing over 100 albums and winning five Grammy Awards.
Puente's music was a unique blend of Latin rhythms and jazz, incorporating elements of mambo, cha-cha, and salsa. His music was highly danceable and infectious, with a strong emphasis on percussion and improvisation. He was a master of the timbales, a type of drum used in Latin music, and his virtuosic solos were a highlight of his live performances.
Puente's music had a broad appeal and was embraced by both Latin and non-Latin audiences. He performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, and the Hollywood Bowl. He also played for presidents and other heads of state, including John F. Kennedy and the King of Morocco.
Puente was also a prolific composer, with many of his songs becoming Latin music standards. His most famous composition is "Oye Como Va," which became a hit for Santana in the 1970s. Other popular songs include "Mambo No. 5," "El Rey Del Timbal," and "Ran Kan Kan." He also composed music for film and television, including the theme song for The Cosby Show.
In addition to his music career, Puente was also an important cultural ambassador for Latin music. He was a mentor to many young musicians and was instrumental in introducing Latin music to a wider audience. He worked tirelessly to promote Latin culture and was a strong advocate for Hispanic causes.
Puente's impact on Latin music cannot be overstated. He was one of the first Latin musicians to achieve mainstream success in the United States and paved the way for future generations of Latin artists. He was a true pioneer, fusing together different musical styles and creating a sound that was uniquely his own.
T Sadly, Puente passed away in 2000 at the age of 77. However, his music continues to live on, inspiring new generations of Latin musicians and music lovers. His legacy is a testament to the power of music to bring people together and break down cultural barriers.
Concord Jazz Picante CJP-250 , 1984
The album "El Rey" was produced by Tito Puente & Carl E. Jefferson, recorded live at The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco 1984 .Show Details
Tico TRLP-1131 , 1950's , USA
Very rare album by two legends of the Cuban/Latin music scene: Tito Puente and La Lupe (Guadalupe Yoli)Show Details
Elektra 0-66421 , 1992 , USA
Dance remixes of Soundtrack of the movie: The Mambo Kings.Show Details
Concord Picante – CCD-4780-2 , 1997 , USA
There's only one El Rey, the king of Latin music...Tito Puente. For over 50 years Tito Puente's infectious rhythms have been keeping people dancing all around the world.