Tito Puente’s Golden Men Of Latin Jazz – Live At Lugano 1993 – Past Daily Downbeat
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Heating up Sunday this week. The legendary Tito Puente and his Golden Men of Latin Jazz, featuring James Moody on Sax and Mongo Santamaria on bongos, live at Estival Jazz from Lugano Switzerland, recorded on July 3rd, 1993.
As one of the pivotal figures in the Latin Jazz movement of the 1950s, Puente enjoyed huge success in both Latin and Latin Jazz genres, and he was instrumental in turning around the role of percussion in Jazz. Latin rhythm became influential in all aspects of Jazz – and it freed up a lot of drummers to explore and emulate that new-found freedom in the process.
Starting out as a drummer in Machito’s Afro-Cuban band (one of the initial Latin Jazz bands on the scene in the 1940s), Puente quickly branched out, forming his own band, he attracted a considerable amount of attention from the audience and critics. His Mambo and Salsa rhythms spawned interest throughout the New York Jazz community and Puente joined forces with a veritable who’s who of figures prominent in the evolving Bop and East Coast schools of Jazz.
By 1993 he was one of the elder statesmen of Latin Jazz – enjoying a long and celebrated career as one of its prime movers and shakers.
Here’s who joined Tito in the festivities:
Tito Puente – timbales, percussion, vocals
Mongo Santamaria – bongo, percussion
Giovanni Hidalgo – congas, percussion
James Moody – saxophone, flute
Charlie Sepulveda – tromba
Dave Valentine – flute
Hilton Ruiz – piano
Andy Gonzales – electric bass
Ignacio Berroa – drums
As a sample of who Tito Puente was all about (if you don’t know), and as a reminder to those of you who do, here is that concert from Lugano Switzerland, given at the Piazza della Riforma.