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Tito Puente Was El Rey de los Timbales

Here is the start of a bio of Tito Puente that no longer seems to be onlin:

Tito Puente is internationally recognized for his seminal contributions to Latin music as a bandleader, composer, arranger, and percussionist. Known as “El Rey,” or The King of Mambo, he has recorded an unprecedented 100 albums, published more than 400 compositions, and won four Grammy awards. “In a day when pop singers fake their way to the top and when for many artists, success is the child of hype, Puente is one of only a handful of musicians who deserve the title ‘legendary,'” Mark Holston stated in Américas.

Credited with introducing the timbal — a double tom-tom played with sticks — and the vibraphone to Afro-Cuban music, Puente also plays the trap drums, the conga drums, the claves, the piano, and occasionally, the saxophone and the clarinet. While Puente is perhaps best known for his all-time best-selling 1958 mambo album Dance Mania, his eclectic sound has continued to transcend cultural and generational boundaries. As a testament to his popularity with a younger audience, Puente has recorded with rocker Carlos Santana and has performed regularly at college concerts throughout the country. He has also appeared in several films, received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and performed on television’s The David Letterman Show.

Here is the beginning of Puente’s Wikipedia profile:

Ernesto Antonio “Tito” Puente, (April 20, 1923 – June 1, 2000),[1] was a Latin jazz and salsa musician and composer. The son of native Puerto Ricans, Ernest and Ercilia Puente, living in New York City’sSpanish Harlem community, Puente is often credited as “The Musical Pope,” “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. He and his music appear in many films such as The Mambo Kings and Fernando Trueba‘s Calle 54. He guest-starred on several television shows including Sesame StreetThe Cosby Show and The Simpsons. (Continue Reading…)

Check out what looks like a nice illustrated bio of Puente, which seems to be aimed at kids. Above is “Maria Cervantes” and below is “Oye Como Va” which, of course, was a cross-over hit for Santana.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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