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Herman's Heat & Puente's Beat

Tito Puente & Woody Herman

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Album Review

Woody Herman and Tito Puente teamed in 1958 for Herman's Heat & Puente's Beat, a mutually satisfying meeting in the same way that Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Machito found common ground in the late '40s. Puente's Latin rhythms and beats meshed with the swing and bebop of Herman's band on half of the disc's cuts, and the results were hot and delightful. With Puente heading the rhythm section and playing timbales, Robert Rodriguez on bass, and assorted percussion from Gilbert Lopez, Ray Rodriguez, and Ray Barretto, the band stays locked into the Latin groove while the saxophonists and trumpeters weave in, out, and around the beat. There are also more conventional Herman swing numbers such as "Blue Station" and "Woodchopper's Ball," where the standard Herman stomping sound is in effect. [This version of the album includes bonus material.]

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...
Full bio