Tito Puente, was a Latin Jazz and Salsa music musician. He is often credited as "The King of Latin Music". As a famous mambo musician, he is well recognized for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions, which boosted his career for at least five decades. Read on to go thorough the brief Tito Puente biography.
Tito Puente was born in New York City. His father worked as a foreman for a razor blade factory. His piano lessons were started by his mother when he was 6 years old. Although dancing lessons were added a little later, a bicycle accident as a child cut short his dreams of dancing his way to the top. Dropping out of school, he learned and performed various Latin dance rhythms with a Miami Beach band.
Tito Puente also served the Navy for three years during World War II. Serving in nine battles, he was allowed to study music at Juilliard School of Music. By the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his popularity. Introducing the Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds, like mambo, son, and cha-cha-cha, to mainstream audiences, most famous album in Tito Puente discography, Dance Mania was released in 1958. Later, he experimented with more diverse sounds, which included pop music, bossa nova and others.
Tito Puente music is well known as a fusion of Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz genres which later became known as the “salsa”. Puente won the first of five Grammy Awards for his music and albums. Some popular albums in Tito Puente discography include El Rey, Percussion's King, Selection of Mambo & Cha Cha Cha, 50 Years of Swing, Tito Meets Machito: Mambo Kings, Cha Cha Cha Rumba Beguine and many more.
Following a show in Puerto Rico, in 2000 in New York City, Puente suffered a heart attack and had open heart surgery. He never recovered form it completely and died in May, 2000. He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Puente son, Tito Puente, Jr., continues his father's heritage by presenting many of the songs form Tito Puente music in his performances and recordings.