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.