The Very Best of Tito Puente: King of Kings (BMG)

Tito Puente 

The Very Best of Tito Puente: King of Kings (BMG)

Before his death in 2000, Tito Puente rivaled James Brown as the hardest-working man in show business. According to the liner notes of this collection, he gigged almost every night for fifty years. Not only did he do more than any other single artist to popularize Latin music to a diverse American audience, but his early-'50s Palladium Dance Hall gigs in New York also went a long way toward breaking down racial barriers and bringing jazz artists (such as Charlie Parker) the attention they deserved.

Though Puente reportedly never liked the term salsa, his mambo-oriented dance music couldn't be more friendly to today's Latin dance fever. But beyond being simply great dance music (no small feat), what really stands out about these old records is their timeless vitality. Particularly amazing are the Afro-Cuban rhythms from his 1957 album, Top Percussion. The most extreme example, an extended jam stripped down to little more than bass and percussion, is both edgy and invigorating, and it makes rock-guitar improvisation seem almost tame by comparison. It's hard to imagine music was ever wilder than this, particularly when it tried to be.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Hear & Now

Facebook Activity

All contents ©2014 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation