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Tito Puente: Mambo Man

Tito Puente performs in 1999, more than 50 years after he started leading his own band.
Frank Micelotta
/
Getty Images
Tito Puente performs in 1999, more than 50 years after he started leading his own band.

Airdate: Sunday, April 16, 2023 at 12 p.m.

Venezuelan professional dancer Karen Hauer presents a centenary celebration of percussionist and bandleader Tito Puente, also known as ‘The King of Latin Music’.

Joining Karen to celebrate the life and career of ‘El Rey del Timbal’ are drummer, educator and Tito Puente biographer Jim Payne, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, legendary Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic musician, Steve Winwood, concert promoter and friend Ina Dittke, music director and film-maker Martin Guigui, and solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

It’s a musical journey that spans six decades from the 1940s to the year 2000 and beyond, charting the progress of Latin music. The programme relives the mambo craze of the 1950s that centred on New York’s Palladium nightclub. You can also hear plenty of great Tito Puente arrangements, including tracks from Dance Mania, the 1958 LP the New York Times judged as one of the top 25 most significant albums of the 20th Century.

Learn how Tito Puente aided the career of Cuban singer Celia Cruz; and how his song Oye Como Va, gave Santana a massive hit in the rock charts of the early 1970s. Also giving a very personal contribution is Tito’s son and heir, Tito Puente Junior.

Heard on KGOU
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