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On Broadway

Tito Puente

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Album Review

The great Latin bandleader Tito Puente has long been one of the pioneers in fusing bebop with very danceable Latin music. On this Concord disc, Puente plays vibes and timbales and utilizes an 11-piece band featuring trumpeter Jimmy Frisaura, Mario Rivera on tenor, soprano and flute, pianist Jorge Dalto and an infectious rhythm section. Jazz standards (including "Sophisticated Lady," "Bluesette" and even Freddie Hubbard's "First Light") alternate with Latin numbers.

Biography

Born: 20 April 1923 in New York, NY

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

By virtue of his warm, flamboyant stage manner, longevity, constant touring, and appearances in the mass media, Tito Puente is probably the most beloved symbol of Latin jazz. But more than that, Puente managed to keep his music remarkably fresh over the decades; as a timbales virtuoso, he combined mastery over every rhythmic nuance with old-fashioned showmanship — watching his eyes bug out when taking a dynamic solo was one of the great treats for Latin jazz fans. A trained musician, he was...
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