Gracias, Tito Puente
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Gracias, Tito Puente

Gern 01 Jun 00 - 01:34 PM
katlaughing 01 Jun 00 - 01:58 PM
Irish sergeant 01 Jun 00 - 07:07 PM
Mbo 01 Jun 00 - 07:08 PM
Escamillo 02 Jun 00 - 12:43 AM
Wesley S 02 Jun 00 - 10:44 AM
lamarca 02 Jun 00 - 04:12 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 02 Jun 00 - 08:46 PM
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Subject: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: Gern
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 01:34 PM

Just heard about the death of mambo maestro Tito Puente, and thought I'd post something to see if others here admired him as I did. He was a musician, showman, composer, bandleader and cultural ambassador, who has unbelievably recorded well over 200 albums. Puente emerged with the mambo kings of the 1950s, weathered ther slump after this fad faded, persisted and lived to see his music sprout new growth. Ironically, Carlos Santana was just featured last night on Fox, and he finished his set with Puente's "Oye como va." Any other fans out there?

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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 01:58 PM

Thanks, Gern, I knew he was ill but didn't know he had passed away. I also didn't know a lot about him or his music, but had friend from Puerto Rico who raved about him.

Here is more info I found on him. It is really sad to know that he is gone. Obviously many, many loved him and his music.

By Judie Glave Associated Press Writer Thursday, June 1, 2000; 12:21 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK –– Bandleader and percussionist Tito Puente, who rode to fame on the heels of the 1950s mambo craze and for the next five decades helped define Latin jazz, has died. He was 77.

Puente, who was recently treated for a heart problem, died Wednesday at NYU Medical Center, his agent, Eddie Rodriguez, said today. A hospital spokeswoman, Lourdes Torres, confirmed the death but said no other information was being released at the family's request.

"Tito was for me more than family", Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz said from Buenos Aires. "I met him in Havana in 1952 and since then I had a brother, and when I arrived in New York (after the Cuban revolution) he continued being my brother. Our world is in mourning because one of the souls of Latin music has died."

Puente recorded more than 100 albums in his six decades in the business. In February, he won his fifth Grammy for best traditional tropical Latin performance for "Mambo Birdland." He received a National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 1997.

A trained pianist and percussionist, Puente's first musical job was as a timbale player with the Machito Orchestra, a group that had successfully merged the Big Band sound with a Latin beat.

It was there that Puente developed his flamboyant style and convinced the band leader to move the timbales – a pair of single-headed drums mounted on stands and played with sticks – from the back of the band to the front.

Puente's style was distinctive: wide-eyed, animated and ever-moving, he managed to draw the crowd into the music, whether they were fans or not.

"In front of a bandstand you've got to be a showman," Puente once said. "Once, I was strictly a musician with a long face and back to the audience. Now I'm a showman, selling what I'm doing, giving the people good vibes."

The eldest son of Puerto Rican parents, Puente was born Ernest Anthony Puente Jr. in New York City on April 20, 1923. (Some references give other years.)

His father, Ernest Sr., was a foreman in a razor-blade factory. His mother called her son Ernestito, Little Ernest, then shortened the name to Tito.

It was his mother who noticed his musical talent and enrolled him in a piano class at 7. Puente studied drums for years before switching to timbales.

After three years in the Navy during World War II, Puente returned to Manhattan and studied conducting, orchestration and theory at the famed Juilliard School of Music from 1945 to '47 on the GI Bill.

His reputation as a jazz arranger grew and for years he arranged and played with other orchestras until he formed his own.

When the mambo craze overtook the country in the 1950s, Puente's fame soared and he became a regular headliner at the New York Palladium. In the 1960s he headed to Hollywood where he collaborated with the brightest Latino and jazz stars of the day.

They included Celia Cruz, Charlie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Candido, Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader, Woody Herman, George Shearing, Lionel Hampton and Machito.

Another was Carlos Santana, whose early hits include Puente's "Oye Como Va."

"Every time he plays 'Oye Como Va,' I get a nice royalty check," Puente said.

Among Puente's Grammy-winning recordings were a three-album tribute to Benny More featuring dozens of top Latin artists, "Mambo Diablo" and "Goza Mi Timbal."

In 1997, RMM Records released a three-CD, 50-song compilation from Puente's recorded output, titled "50 Years of Swing." The first cut, "Que No, Que No," is from his "El Rey del Mambo" ("The King of the Mambo") recording of 1946.

"The excitement of the rhythms and the beat make people happy," he told The Associated Press in 1997. "We try to get our feelings to the people, so they enjoy it."

One of his most successful albums of the '50s was "Puente Goes Jazz."

"Some jazz bands, like (Stan) Kenton's, had added Latin rhythms," Puente told an interviewer in 1957. "It sounded good to me. So I figured I might as well do the same thing, in reverse. I start off writing a straight jazz arrangement, then I just add a Latin rhythm section."

"It's the same reason kids like rock 'n' roll. It has the beat. I think bop, which neglected rhythm and neglected dancers, did a lot to kill big bands."

Puente had been released from a San Juan, Puerto Rico, hospital May 2 after two days of treatment for an irregular heartbeat. He canceled all his events in May, including three concerts planned with the Symphonic Orchestra of Puerto Rico.

He is survived by his wife, Margie, two sons and a daughter.


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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:07 PM

Anyone who loves Latin music will miss Tito Puente. I have admired his work for some time. Via con Dios, Amigo, you will be missed.

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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: Mbo
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:08 PM

Same here, we were just listening to his music in Ceramics class a few weeks ago. Oye como va, Tito.


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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: Escamillo
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 12:43 AM

The great Maestro is gone but his music and the charm of his smile will live forever. Heavens are now dancing the mambo. Un abrazo - Andrés

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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 10:44 AM

His son Tito Jr was just through town about a week ago. He has his own band.

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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: lamarca
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 04:12 PM

Tito Puente and His Latin Jazz Orchestra were one of the featured groups at last year's Fourth of July American Roots concert at the Washington Monument, for which I work on stage crew every year. Mr. Puente was a gracious and friendly performer, and his band was a joy to work with. I was thrilled to get to meet him and hear his group up close! Their road manager even tried to me to dance with him backstage, but being a white girl from Wisconsin, I didn't know how to move to the wonderful rhythm patterns. I was very sorry to hear of Mr. Puente's death, and pray for his soul to find much joy and light and music...

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Subject: RE: Gracias, Tito Puente
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 08:46 PM

What can you say about a person like Tito Puente.Ive seen 6year olds sticking thier tongs out in the same way he did imitating even his facial expressions like a little kid would do with a baseball hero. He would make me smile even before the first hit. Dulldan

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