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Tito Puente & His Orchestra

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Tito Puente was a jazz and latin music percussionist. Back in the day, he would have competitions with other bands such as Perez Prado to see who would be named “King of the mambo”. Tito always won.

From various sources and as one can see from video, Puente was an electric performer who always stood up on the timbales. He was an accomplished dancer as well.

Tito Puente is probably the most beloved figure of the music that is now mostly called Latin jazz. When asked if he played salsa, he replied, ” I don’t play sauce.(the Spanish meaning of the word) I play jazz.” Today’s most popular artist in Latin jazz, Poncho Sanchez, named his son Tito after Tito Puente.

Many of his records are great, such as “In Session”. The quality on record is not as consistent as he apparently was in concert, though. Some recordings are mediocre in quality. The list of people who played with him would fill a who’s who of both Jazz and Latin music. His last release was a duo with Eddie Palmieri, the appropriately named ” Obra Maestra”. If anyone is to name the King of the mambo or the King of Latin Jazz, the most popular answer will be Tito Puente.

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