orig. Ernesto Antonio Puente, Jr.
Tito Puente, 1998.
(born April 20, 1923, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died May 31, 2000, New York City) U.S. bandleader, percussionist, and composer. Born to Puerto Rican parents, Puente served in the Navy during World War II and later studied at Juilliard. In the late 1940s he formed his own band and rose to prominence with the salsa
, mambo, merengue
, and cha-cha-cha fads of the 1950s. Always experimenting, he became a pioneer of Latin-jazz fusion. His compositions include “Pare Cochero” and “Oye Como Va.” He performed with many artists, especially Celia Cruz
, and he recorded more than 100 albums. He also performed in several films, including Radio Days
(1987) and The Mambo Kings
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.