Friday, 20 April 2018

Tito Puente born 20 April 1923

Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente (April 20, 1923 – May 31, 2000) was an American musician, songwriter and record producer. Puente is often credited as "The Musical Pope", "El Rey de los imbales" (The King of the Timbales) and "The King of Latin Music". But he was also skilled at the bateria, congas, claves, piano, saxophone, and clarinet, which allowed him to create a school for every musical genre he entered. 

Tito Puente was born on April 20, 1923, at Harlem Hospital Centre
in the New York borough of Manhattan. His family moved frequently, but he spent the majority of his childhood in the Spanish Harlem area of the city. Puente's father was the foreman at a razorblade factory. 
As a child, he was described as hyperactive, and after neighbours complained of hearing seven-year-old Puente beating on pots and window frames, his mother sent him to 25-cent piano lessons. By the age of 10, he switched to percussion, drawing influence from jazz drummer Gene Krupa. He later created a song-and-dance duo with his sister Anna in the 1930s and intended to become a dancer, but an ankle tendon injury prevented him pursuing dance as a career. When the drummer in Machito's band was drafted to the army, Puente subsequently took his place.  

Puente served in the Navy for three years during World War II after being drafted in 1942. He was discharged with a Presidential Unit Citation for serving in nine battles on the escort carrier USS Santee (CVE-29). The GI Bill allowed him to study music at Juilliard School of Music, where he completed a formal education in conducting, orchestration and theory. In 1969, he received the key to the City of New York from former Mayor John Lindsay. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Congressional Record, and in 1993 he received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian. 

During the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his popularity, and helped to bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds like mambo, son, and cha-cha-chá, to mainstream audiences. Puente was so successful playing popular Afro-Cuban rhythms that many people mistakenly identify him as Cuban. Dance Mania, possibly Puente's most well known album, was released in 1958. 
Among his most famous compositions are mambo "Oye como va" (1963), popularized by Latin rock musician Carlos Santana and later interpreted, among others, by Julio Iglesias, Irakere or Celia Cruz. 
 Later, he moved into more diverse sounds, including pop music, bossa nova and others, eventually settling down with a fusion of Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz. In 1979, Puente won the first of five Grammy Awards for the albums A Tribute to Benny Moré, On Broadway, Mambo Diablo, and Goza Mi Timbal. In 1982, he started reeling off a string of several Latin jazz albums with octets or big bands for Concord Picante that gave him greater exposure and respect in the jazz world than he ever had.

In 1990, Puente was awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. He was also awarded a Grammy at the first Latin Grammy Awards, winning Best Traditional Tropical Album for Mambo Birdland. An indefatigable visitor to the recording studios, Puente recorded his 100th album, The Mambo King, in 1991 amid much ceremony and affection (an all-star Latin music concert at Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre in March 1992 commemorated the milestone), and he kept adding more titles to the tally throughout the '90s. 

In early 2000, he appeared in the music documentary Calle 54, wearing an all-white outfit with his band. After a show in Puerto Rico on May 31, 2000, he suffered a massive heart attack and was flown to New York City for surgery to repair a heart valve, but complications developed and he died on May 31, 2000. He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. 

Tito Puente's name is often mentioned in a television production called La Epoca, a film about the Palladium era in New York, Afro-Cuban music and rhythms, mambo and salsa as dances and music and much more. The film discusses many of Puente's, as well as Arsenio Rodríguez's, contributions, and features interviews with some of the musicians Puente recorded with Alfonso "El Panameno" Joseph.

Puente's son Richard "Richie" Puente was the percussionist in the 1970s funk band Foxy. Puente's youngest son, Tito Puente Jr., has continued his father's legacy by presenting many of the same songs in his performances and recordings, while daughter Audrey Puente is a television meteorologist for WNYW and WWOR-TV in New York City. (Info edited from AllMusic and mainly Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For “Tito Puente – Night Beat, Plus” go here:

1. Live A Little (Let's Face It)
2. The Late, Late Scene
3. Midnight Lament (Minor Moods)
4. Night Hawk (Coconut And Rice)
5. Malibu Beat
6. Mambo Beat
7. Night Ritual
8. The Floozie
9. Poor Butterfly
10. Lullaby Of The Leaves
11. Duerme (Time Was)
12. Poor Butterfly
13. Lullaby Of The Leaves
14. Noche De Ronda (Be Mine Tonight)
15. Duerme (Time Was)
16. Ecstasy
17. Tea For Two
18. Son De La Loma
19. Tito's Guajira
20. Almendra
21. La Ola Marina
22. Un Poquito De Tu Amor
23. What A Difference A Day Made
24. Night Beat
25. Emerald Beach
26. Carioca

In 1993, Bear Family released Night Beat/Mucho Puente, Plus, which contained two complete albums -- Night Beat (1957) and Mucho Puente (1964), both originally released on RCA -- by Latin jazz giant Tito Puente on one compact disc.