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Tito Puente: The Complete 78's Volumes 1 - 3, Dance Mania, Jazz & Live at the 1977 Monterey Jazz Festival


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Tito Puente
The Complete 78's Volumes 1—3

Tito Puente
Dancemania: Legacy Edition 2-CD Set

Tito Puente


Tito Puente
Live At The 1977 Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey Jazz Festival


No musician was more responsible in his lifetime for bringing the sound of Latin music to jazz and popular music audiences than Tito Puente. During a career spanning over half a century Puente introduced the mambo, cha-cha-cha, guaguanco and other AfroCuban rhythms to generations that may not have always understood the Spanish language lyrics, but undoubtedly got the music's message. The latest spate of reissues by the charismatic timbalero-vibraphonist-composer-bandleader offers an unprecedented overview of the career a truly important artist.

Fania's The Complete 78s series of two-CD sets chronologically documents the earliest efforts of Puente that made him a popular attraction at New York's Palladium Ballroom during the era when the mambo was the city's most fashionable new dance. Many of these rare sides have never appeared on CD (or LP) before, some having been restored from the original 78s from the collection of compilation producer Joe Conzo, whose liner notes shed some light on dates that were notoriously shy on giving credit to sidemen. While created predominantly for dancing pleasure, Puente's sophisticated rhythms and jazz-influenced arrangements are as satisfying for serious listeners today as they were for the dancers who flocked to his gigs in the '50s.

Spanning from 1949 to 1955 these sides show off Puente's conjuntos and orchestras just as the charismatic man, as much entertainer as artist, was rising to the height of popularity. Volume 1 prominently features the legendary vocalist Vincentico Valdes. Joined in the rhythm section by Manny Oquendo and Mongo Santamaria on bongos and congas, respectively, Puente on timbales drives his bands to ecstatic heights on fiery mambos, while on vibes he swathes his orchestrations of boleros and cha-cha-chas in a romantic cloud. Volume 2 includes Valdes again, as well as the voices of the De Castro Sisters (who shine on the bilingual hit "Cuban Nightingale"), with Oquendo and his replacement Willie Bobo in the percussion section and Charlie Palmieri on piano. Volume 3 spotlights Valdes' replacement, the comparably talented but sadly unheralded Gilbert Monroig, along with the Palmieri-Bobo-Santamaria rhythm section. Each volume also includes a fair number of instrumentals that feature a roaring big band of sadly unnamed (except for Mario Bauza) brass and reed men playing bop-inflected orchestrations that testified to Puente's considerable talents as an arranger/composer.

Dance Mania was Puente's all-time top selling album, the sole representative of Latin music on the New York Times list of Best Albums of The Twentieth Century. This double CD reissue of big band masterworks recorded in 1957 (Volume 1) and 1960 (Volume 2)—featuring longtime Puente sonero Santos Colon and a full orchestra with a percussion section including Santamaria, Bobo, Ray Barretto, Julito Collazo, Jose Mangual, Carlos "Patato" Valdes and others on various tracks—set the standard for Latin big bands that has arguably never been surpassed. Pristinely recorded for RCA, one can hear the breathtaking interaction between timbales, congas, bongo, guiro and claves that drives the music to the fever pitch with the rhythms of mambos, cha-chas and guaguancó. This reissue including liner notes by Conzo and complete personnel listing, along with alternate takes and selected works from other Puente releases such as Cuban Carnival, Mucho Puente, Tambo and Mucho Cha-Cha is a must have for all true lovers of Latin music.

The reissue of Jazz, compiled and annotated by Latin jazz drummer-percussionist-bandleader Bobby Sanabria, is probably, as its title implies, the most palatable of all the CDs here to straight-ahead jazz fans. The program, comprised solely of instrumentals, showcases Puente the composer/arranger-timbalero/ vibraphonist sans the Spanish language vocals that sometimes cause Anglo listeners to shy away from his work. There's plenty of smokin' jazz here, beginning with Ray Santo's bluesy swinging "Cochise" and later on Lester Young's "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid" and Mario Bauza's Machito and his AfroCubans theme song "Mambo Inn" (a popular jazz standard covered by Count Basie, Lou Donaldson, George Shearing and Billy Taylor), as well as Latin fire on "110th and 5th Avenue," "Picadillo," "Carnival In Harlem" and the closing "Ritual Fire Dance". Two tracks from the Puente In Percussion date, "The Big Four" and "Timbales Solo," will send drum aficionados running for that album.

Released for the first time, Live At The 1977 Monterey Jazz Festival is a sensational discovery. Here Puente fronts a big band with a jazzier sound than his earlier units due to the addition of Mike Collazo's trap drums to the timbales-conga-bongo percussion section. The orchestra, one of the first (if not the first) Latin organizations to play the prestigious festival, is in fine form, kicking things off with three of the leader's hottest hits—"Para Los Rumberos," "Oye Como Va" and "Babarabatiri"—before coming down with the beautiful bolero "Delirio". The fire is reignited on "Tito's Odyssey," cooling only slightly for a cha-cha-cha arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry About A Thing" and then heating up for the rest of the set that ends with Cal Tjader sitting in on the classic "Picadillo".

Tracks and Personnel

The Complete 78's Volumes 1—3

Tracks: Volume 1: Disc 1: Un Corazón; Solos Tu Y Yo; Mambo Macoco; Abaniquito; Titos Mambo; Babalaqua; Baile Simón; Quiero Mi Tambo; Cuban Cutie; A Burujon Puñao; Babarabatiri; Cuban Mambo; Mambolero: Mi Guaguancó (New Guaguancó); Mambo La Roca; Lo Dicen Todas—Esy; El Nuevo Mambo: The Drinking Mambo; Oye Lo Que Tiene El Mambo. Disc 2: Soy Feliz; No Lo Hago Mas; Vibe Mambo; Por La Mañana; Willie And Ray Mambo; Tinguaro; Mambo Con Puente; Baile Mi Mambo; Tatalibába; Guajeo En Domenante; Mambo Gallego; Quiereme Y Veras; El Rey Del Timbal; Que Lindo El Mambo; Titóro; Mamey Colorao'; Camina Camaron; Mari Juana; Mambiando; Mambo Suavecito. Volume 2: Disc 1: Cuban Nightingale; Tonight I Am In Heaven; I Do; Jumbalato; La Güira; La Gloria Eres Tu; El Mambo Diablo; Monterrey; Ta' Bueno Pa' Bailar; Aprieta El Pollo; Este Es Tumbao'; Pénjamo; Cuero Na' Ma'; Este Es Coco; Temptation; Autumn Leaves; I Get A Kick Out Of You; What Is This Thing Called Love; Guaguancó En Tropicana; Tu Mi Amor Divino. Disc 2: Mambo En Blues; Calypso Mambo; Yambú Pa' Gozar; Wampo; Batanga; Nueva Vida; Me Quieres O No Me Quieres; Si Me Dices Que Si; Palabras Calladas; Preparen Candela; Santo Suarez; Que Caminaito; Salta Perico; Luna Yumurina; Rainfall; The Continental; Mambo Birdland; Mambo City; Mambo Mist; Mambo Night. Volume 3: Disc 1: Bam Baram Bam; Picao Y Tosao; The Silver Star; El Alardoso; Mambo Rama; Tropicana; Caravan Mambo; Mambo Inn; Philadelphia Mambo; 1626 Madison Avenue; The Carioca; Cool Mambo; George Woods Mambo; Confucius Mambo; Baila Mi Cha Cha Cha; Ya Lo Puedes Decir; Cha Cha Cha; Los Rumberos Se Van; Bien Explicado; Alma Muerta. Disc 2: Rico Melao; El Espejo; La Rumba Te Llama; Los Cinco Sentidos; La Gerigonza; Chi Que Te Va Gustar; Malcriada; El Diablo De Esa Mujer; I Love You Baby; Bananas; Mambo With Me; Autumn In Rome; Happy Heart; Ran Kan Kan; Adela; The Man From Jamaica; Cha Cha Mambo; Oigan Mi Cha Cha Cha; Mambo Lenko; Cha Cha Bounce.

Personnel: Volume 1: Tito Puente: leader, timbales, vibraphone; Mario Bauza: trumpet; Manny Oqunedo, Mongo Santamaria: percussion; Johnny Lopez, Bobby Escoto, Vicentico Valdes: vocals; Graciela: coro. Volume 2: Tito Puente: leader, timbales, vibraphone; Manny Oqunedo, Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria: percussion; Charlie Palmieri: piano; Vicentico Valdes, De Castro Sisters: vocals. Volume 3: Tito Puente: leader, timbales, vibraphone; Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria: percussion; Charlie Palmieri: piano; Gilberto Monroig: vocals.

Dancemania: Legacy Edition 2-CD Set

Tracks: Disc 1: El Cayuco; Complicación; 3-D Mambo; Llego Mijan; Cuando Te Vea; Hong Kong Mambo; Mambo Gozan; Mi Chiquita Quiere Bembé; Varsity Drag Mambo; Estory Siempre Junto A Ti; Agua Limpia Todo; Saca Tu Mujer; El Cayuco (Outtake); Estory Siempre Junto A Ti (Outtake); Mabozoka; Havana After Dark; Cual Es La Idea; Tito Guajira; Yambeque; Son De La Loma; Guaririambo; Pa' Los; Rumberos. Disc 2: A Gozar Timbero; Si Te Contara; Separala Tambien; Caonao; Una Mujer; Baila Como Es; Dance Mania; Porque Te Perdi; Guancoa; Con Sandunga; Cua Cua; Si Te Contara (Outtake); A Gozar Timbero (Outtake); Una Mujer (Outtake); Chanchullo; Guaguanco; Cha-Con-Cha; El Bajo; Suave Asi; Cha Cha Son; Delisse; El Palo.

Personnel: Tito Puente: Leader, arranger, timbales & vibraphone; Santitos Colon: Lead vocalist & guiro;Jimmy Frisaura, Frank Lo Pinto, Gene Rapetti, Larry Moser, Bernie Glow, Pat Russo, Pedro "Puchi" Boulong, Carl "Doc" Severinson: Trumpets; Carlos "Patato" Valdez, Jose Mangual, Julito Collazo, Willie Bobo, Armando Perraza, Mongo Santamaria: Congas, percussion;Jerry Sanfino, Rafael "Tata" Palau, Scheppe Pullman, Tony Buonpastore, Pete Fanelli: Saxophones ;Bobby Rodriguez: Bass;Ray Barretto: Congas; Ray Rodriguez: Bongos; Ray Coen, Gilberto Lopez: Piano; Vitin Aviles, Otto Olivar: Coro.


Tracks: Cochise; One Note Samba; 110th St And 5th Aveune; Picadillo; The Big Four; Timbales Solo; Autumn Leaves; Mambo Inn; A Noro Morales; Carnival In Harlem; Jumpin' With Symphony Sid; Ritual Fire Dance.

Personnel: Tito Puente: timbales and vibraphone.

Live At The 1977 Monterey Jazz Festival

Tracks: Introduction by Jimmy Lyons; Para Los Rumberos; Oye Como Va; Barbarabatiri; Delirio; Tito's Odyssey; Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing (Cha Cha Cha); Pare Cochero; El Rey Del Timball; Picadillo.

Personnel: Tito Puente: Timbales, vibraphone, leader; Mauricio Smith: Flute, baritone saxophone; Martin Oberlander: Alto saxophone; Albert Shikaly Tenor saxophone; Julio Rodriguez, Manuel Santos, Paulo De Paula: Trumpets; Jimmy Frisura Trumpet, valve trombone; Richard Pullin: Trombone; Paquito Pastor: Piano; Nilo Sierra: Bass; Mike Collazo: Trap drums; Jose Madera: Congas; Louis Bauzo- Bongo; Frankie Figueroa: Vocals; Cal Tjader: Vibraphone ( Track #10).

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