Tito Puente

Overview

He was born in New York City, and he died in New York City. But Tito Puente lived his life as a Puerto Rican who became one of the greatest Hispanic-American musicians of the twentieth century. During the 1940s and 1950s, American music experienced some of its most significant changes. The separate worlds of jazz, swing, and Latin music came together to take on new forms and styles. This resulted in a music with a beat and syncopation that brought thousands of frenetic fans to the dance floors and night clubs of ...
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Overview

He was born in New York City, and he died in New York City. But Tito Puente lived his life as a Puerto Rican who became one of the greatest Hispanic-American musicians of the twentieth century. During the 1940s and 1950s, American music experienced some of its most significant changes. The separate worlds of jazz, swing, and Latin music came together to take on new forms and styles. This resulted in a music with a beat and syncopation that brought thousands of frenetic fans to the dance floors and night clubs of the Big Apple. Puente led the way in this transitional era in American music as a songwriter, an arranger, a leader of big bands, and above all as an unrivaled musician. He pounded out rhythms on the timbales with an incredible intensity and soul-a combination that won him the hearts of those who were drawn in by the ecstatic lure of his distinctive style of Afro-Cuban music.

About the Author:
Tim McNeese is associate professor of history at York College in York, Nebraska

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
An accomplished bandleader, composer, musician, performer, and dancer, Tito Puente clearly belongs in this "Great Hispanic Heritage Series." Unfortunately, this book itself is not so great. The author spends the first few pages discussing WWII and its impact; Puente himself is not mentioned until page ten. Throughout the biography, half the pages cover events and people surrounding Puente. Paragraphs—even pages—detail numerous musicians who influenced, mentored, or befriended him while his wives and children receive one paragraph. Puente's brother died at age four (when Puente was ten), and his sister also died before reaching adulthood; yet nothing is said of how this affected him. The book describes Puente's musical accomplishments but gives little sense of the man. One of the most significant aspects of Puente's music was that it transcended race, making Latin music hugely popular and accessible. Growing up, Puente spoke both Spanish and English; unfortunately, several times when he is quoted, his English is improper: "if you don't play that tune you're not into nothin, see?" Puente, who dropped out of high school then went to Juilliard after serving in the Navy, also downplayed the importance of education, saying to really learn, you have got to practice and gain experience by playing in front of an audience. There is no denying Puente changed the face of music by putting drums in the foreground and expanding appreciation of Latin styles and rhythms. In the end, perhaps his amazing career (7 Grammys, 100 albums, 10,000 performances) speaks for itself. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791096666
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Series: The Great Hispanic Heritage Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 120
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction     6
Finding His Music     16
The Young Musician     29
To War and Back Again     39
The Palladium     53
Puente, the 1950s, and Mambo     66
Puente's Time and Place     79
The Music Continues     92
Chronology     105
Notes     108
Bibliography     110
Further Reading     111
Index     113
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