Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, Tito Puente was known around the world as "The King of Latin Music" and also skilled at the bateria, congas, claves, piano and saxophone, which allowed him to create a school for every musical genre he entered. Attempting to tell his story requires going back to the very beginning of every musical movement he participated in over the course of his long and successful career. A great among greats, Tito gained his experience among the consecrated artists who would write the history of contemporary music. It would be impossible to name all the stars that Puente shared his music with or the countless performances he gave as "His Excellency, the World Ambassador of Latin American Music." Puente received the highest awards, distinctions, and praise for his more than 135 albums, 600 compositions, and countless arrangements for diverse artists and musical genres. Among those was the coveted Grammy, which he won five times! With the death of Maestro Tito Puente on May 31, 2000, an important chapter in the history of Latin American music closed forever. At the same time, he became a legend. The excellence embodied by this unparalleled artist, whose talents ran the gamut from musician, composer, director, and arranger paints a perfect picture of the dimension and magnitude of his talent.
Now, Fania Records compiles some of the best, and rarest works from this legend with The Complete 78s, a memorable collection sharing many favorites and rare treasures from the classic Tico 78 RPM recordings of Tito Puente and his Orchestra and Quartet (1949-1955), remastered and carefully assembled by Joe Conzo (a Puente confidant and historian). The recordings have been compiled and sequenced from the original Tico catalogue, and many tracks have been remastered from the original 78 RPM recordings because the original masters were not available. Some of these tracks were only available until now in the original 78s and never made it to LP or CD format! These recordings showcase the true genius of Tito Puente, documenting his transition from conjuto bandleader to big band arranger, composer, conductor and creator of a sound that became popular throughout the world. With a total of four volumes of The Complete 78s (each consisting of 2CDs for a total of 8 CDs in the collection), the timeless songs of Tito Puente will set your dancing feet on fire.
The first volume of The Complete 78s kicks off with a beautiful bolero, ''Un Corazón," performed by Johnny López. Tito's self-penned "Mambo Macoco'' was the A-side of his first big hit, "Abaniquito," a swinging mambo featuring Vicentico Valdés on vocals, Mario Bauzá on trumpet and Graciela on coros. "Tito's Mambo" showcases Tito's work on the timbales, while "Babalagua" is a beautiful Afro tune sung by Bobby Escoto. Also, check out the sensous "Mambolero" (with Vicentico Valdés and Tito shining on the vibes), Tito's original composition "Mambo La Roca," as well as the Latin jazz track "Esy" (dedicated to the great Esy Morales). Performed beautifully by Valdés, "Soy Feliz" opens disc two, which also includes the rare track "Tinguaro," composed by the original Mambo King, Cachao. Also present is the original version of "Tatalibabá" with Vicentico, recorded again with Celia Cruz in 1972. "Mambo Gallego" can be heard during a dance sequence on the film The Mambo Kings. And "Mari Juana" has a double meaning - especially these days! This one is for historians, collectors and listeners of incredible dance music. So sit back, listen, dance, and enjoy these historical recordings by the King of Latin Music, Tito Puente.
Download "Babarabatiri" (Direct Download)
CD1: Un Corazon
CD1: Titos Mambo