Artist Essentials

Tito Puente

Tito Puente Essentials Playlist Cover

While witnessing the dominance of the Mambo craze in the 1940’s, a young New York ‘mambo-nick’ by the name of George Goldner had the foresight to promote Latin music and dancing and bring it to the forefront. And in 1948, George decided to produce his own recordings. Along with partner, Art (Pancho) Raymond, he formed a company that would ultimately revolutionize the Latin music industry for generations to come: Tico Records was created. Straightaway, George signed up and recorded the most popular bandleaders of that era: Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodriguez; and released a string of successful 78 RPM singles for years to come. And in 1955, Tico released its first LP, Mamborama, an historic release that exposed the excitement and energy that evolves from the works of a brilliant craftsman like Tito Puente. Mamborama, the world’s first mega-hit Latin album, featured fiery arrangements specially designed for mambo dancing. Besides the dynamic arrangements it exhibits his skills as an innovative vibraharpist and the greatest timbalero this world has ever known. Tunes like “Ran Kan Kan,” “Mambo Inn” and “Mambo with Me” became classics that were constantly in demand wherever Tito performed. It is no surprise that this talented individual became the everlasting face of mambo and salsa music across the universe. This writer had the distinct honor of working with Tito on his “THE KING” album and came to value his friendship just as anyone who knew him did. “I am an optimist … as long as the young people love our music, it will be alright. I don’t know if I will ever get rich, but as long as I can, I want to put my music out there for people to enjoy … I love to see people dance, I love to hear them sing, and I love when they wave to me … I am an optimist” said Tito Puente in 1959. —Bobby Marin