Latin Jazz Godfather Tito Puente Gets a Fifty-Year Retrospective in the Bronx at Hostos Community College
Hostos Community Collegehttp://www.hostoscenter.org/
500 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
Sizzling conguerto, native Puerto Rican son and superstar based in Spanish Harlem, Tito Puente was the most important proponent for Latin jazz. While he passed away in 2000, his influence still flows through the life of the Latin jazz community. For the first time, he is honored in a multi-day comprehensive festival, Tito Puente: A Fifty-Year Retrospective of ‘El Rey,’ produced by the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. It’s artistically project-managed by former Puente musical director José Madera, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra bassist/composer/arranger Carlos Henríquez and Puente historian and archivist Joe Conzo Sr. The festival included family concerts, workshops, panel discussions, listening sessions, a film screening and closes with a dance in the Hostos Café.
The festival opens on Friday with “Puente for a New Generation,” featuring a 12-piece ensemble of some of New York’s top young jazz musicians conducted by Henríquez and covering Puente’s music from 1967 to 2000. On Saturday Henríquez leads a free family concert “Who is the King of Latin Music?” as part of Lincoln Center Education’s Boro-Linc. The Tito Bash concert part of the festival ends with the 18-piece Mambo Legends Orchestra performing “Rediscovering Lost Treasures of the Palladium Era: 1950-1966” led by Madera. The Retrospective ends with Dance Mania featuring Puente hits for the dancing crowd. —Dan Ouellette