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.
Tito Puente has long championed Latin-jazz, a combination of Latin percussion and rhythms with bebop-oriented jazz. This release from the Concord Picante label serves as a perfect introduction to his music. For this date Puente (who performs on timbales and marimba) uses six horns, piano, bass, synthesizer and three other percussionists to play everything from "Donna Lee" and "Stompin' at the Savoy" to his own exotic originals.
Quatro: The Definitive Collection assembles four truly classic Tito Puente albums recorded between 1955 and 1960 for RCA, and adds a disc of outtakes, alternate takes, and rarities in a lavishly designed limited-edition box set. The box is 6" x 6" with each album housed individually in a thick cardboard sleeve with back and front facsimile cover art. These four albums were cut in chronological order: Cuban Carnival (1956), Night Beat (1957), Dance Mania (1958), and Revolving Bandstand (1960), the last recorded in collaboration with the Buddy Morrow Orchestra.
This Concord CD was Tito Puente's 99th as a leader and the music is particularly strong. Four jazz standards alternate with a quartet of Puente's originals and Chucho Valdes' "Cha Cha Cha," all of which are potentially good vehicles for jazz improvisations (although "Ode" and "Lambada" are dominated by group vocals). There are plenty of fine solos throughout by the five horn players and the three or four-piece percussion section keeps the rhythms infectious. In the world of Latin-jazz, Tito Puente has had few peers.
Album recorded in a special live session held one night in December 1959 in the Grand Ballroom of Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel, now extinct since 1986, at the town of Liberty, near New York. Before an enthusiastic audience of 1,200 people Tito Puente conducted his orchestra Tito that night creating a specific program dedicated to dance in which joined two pieces specially created and dedicated to the hotel complex. This is a rare and disappeared recording monographically devoted to dance cha cha.
Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente, (April 20, 1923 – June 1, 2000), was a Latin jazz and salsa musician and composer. The son of native Puerto Ricans, Ernest and Ercilia Puente, living in New York City's Spanish Harlem community, Puente is often credited as "El Rey de los Timbales" (The King of the timbales) and "The King of Latin Music". He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that helped keep his career going for 50 years.