The King of Latin Jazz
APRIL 20, 1923 – MAY 31, 2000
Elvis may have been known as "The King of Rock and Roll," but to fans of Latin music icon, Tito Puente will always be "The King of Latin Jazz."
Puente was responsible for making timbales a respectable solo instrument in Latin dance music and Latin jazz. He was also an accomplished player of the vibraphone, alto sax, bass, piano and drums, as well as an arranger and band leader.
As an accomplished dancer himself, Puente always counted dancers as among his most loyal devotees. His Dancemania album has sold over half a million copies since 1957, and five of his over 100 album releases have won Grammy Awards.
Recent milestones for this legend included an appearance in the 1992 film The Mambo Kings, having a star installed on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and the opening of his own restaurant in City Island, in New York. On November 19, 1996 Puente's contribution to American music was honored with a U.S. Postal Service stamp cancellation mark. The following year, Tito received the National Endowment Award from President Clinton. Puente's craving for innovation and perfection helped lead to the design of of LP's Tito Puente Model Timbales.
Though he is no longer physically with us, Tito Puente will live forever in the hearts of music fans the world over.