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King of Kings: The Very Best of Tito Puente

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Album Review

Tito Puente was never one for half measures, and even in death there's no modesty involved, as the label calls him King of Kings. It might be an exaggeration, but only a slight one, and it gets the attention. Still, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and there's a hearty meal here, albeit one missing one or two choice dishes, like Puente's original version of "Oye Como Va," a song that indirectly brought him a whole new audience. However, "Honk Kong Mambo" is here, "Dance Mania," and "Dance of the Headhunters," so it's hard to find too much fault with the disc's 21-track selection. While the man wasn't shy about having his timbales, or himself, front and center, he truly was a driving force in his music — and, as this CD shows, he knew how to write more than his share of good tunes, too. Some of it has a slight novelty aspect, like "3 D Mambo," and he definitely worked the whole mambo craze of the '50s for all it was worth. Still, he did have more strings to his bow, as tracks like "Saca Tu Mujer" prove, and he was a world-class percussionist, and an able bandleader, with a flair for popular jazz. He worked hard — exceptionally hard — and deserved his success. This collection might not be the ultimate Puente compilation — that's yet to be put together — but it's still worth it for the wealth of dance music inside.

Customer Reviews


que se levanten los muertos

Wow...where you been Tito?

Ive always loved this old school salsa music, but could never really find a good collection of it. I loved old James Bond movies, instantly loved the vibe in San Juan when I first set foot on the island....who knows, maybe in my past life I was Cuban, all I know is as I stumbled across this link to this man and started playing the tracks I was floored by the richness and depth of each song on this CD...and I dont know a thing about him, but I downloaded the whole CD and look forward to chilling out on a Friday afternoon driving home with this blasting out the window as Spring approaches!




Born: April 20, 1923 in New York, NY

Genre: Latino

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 also...
Full Bio

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