Über Tito Puente
Most of the rock generation is familiar with Tito Puente through Santana's cover of "Oye Como Va" and his appearance in The Mambo Kings. By venturing closer to the source, they will discover what Latin jazz fans have known for years: Puente's intoxicating mix of Big Band jazz and Latin music creates Mambo madness at its finest. Tito Puente is credited with fusing Cuban charangas with Big Band swing and Bop. Puente always had one eye on dance fans and indeed, his music puts the ghost of St. Vitus in your body. But his other eye was planted on jazz fans -- he loved arranging for composers such as Horace Silver and his soulmate Dizzy Gillespie. There are many similarities between Puente and Diz's various big bands -- chief among them the spirit of global brotherhood that they celebrate. But Tito Puente never let his jazz side distract from his music's mass popularity; when the Big Band era was long gone, Puente not only kept his band together but saw it thrive. With more than a hundred albums to his credit, at least one or two should be a part of every collection.