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.
This is the second volume of one of the most important musical projects undertaken by the Fania label. The classic Tico 78 RPM recordings of Tito Puente are made available in digital quality and with the informative liner notes of Joe Conzo (a confidant and historian' of the late "King of Latin Music" Tito Puente.) The 40 tracks are from the early period of Puente's musical career, when he wrote and performed some of his best material.
This release makes a good argument for the history of Afro-Cuban based dance music being separated into two periods, before Puente and after Puente. The King's arranging skills are remarkable for its time. Only Puente can find so many different and interesting ways to play the mambo, as in "Calypso Mambo," "Mambo En Blues," "El Mambo Diablo," "Mambo Night," "Mambo Birdland" and "Mambo Mist." Listen to Puente's Latin transformation of jazz standards, such as "Autumn Leaves," "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "What Is This Thing Called Love."