To many Latin music aficionados, Tito Puente represents the very essence of Afro-Caribbean swing. The timbalero and bandleader, who passed away in the year 2000 at age 77, recorded over 100 albums exploring every possible style and format within the tropical genre.
Now, Fania is proud to release a single disc distillation of Tito's monumental opus - a Greatest Hits collection that contains some of the man's most memorable moments: from the ubiquitous "Oye Como Va" in its original version with Santitos Colón on vocals, to such dancers' favorites as "Picadillo," "Mambo Diablo" and "Ran Kan Kan."
The compilation is based mostly on the great albums that Puente recorded for the Tico label during the '60s and '70s. Besides the authentic Afro-Cuban bravado of Santitos Colón's vocals, the collection illustrates Puente's uncanny talent to surround himself with memorable singers: Panamanian sonero Meñique on a timeless "Para Los Rumberos," a Latinized "Crystal Blue Persuasion" with Puerto Rico's Sophy, and a rare duet between Santitos Colón and Cuban diva and longtime Puente collaborator La Lupe on "Cómo Está Miguel."
Puente grew up in New York, hopelessly in love with both mainstream American jazz and Cuban dance music. During the '50s, he established himself in the local music scene performing lush arrangements of mambos and cha cha chas. He also brought the timbales to the front to the stage, shining as a showman with elaborate dance routines and dizzying solos. Throughout the years, he assimilated new musical trends with abandon: from bossa nova and funk to boogaloo and salsa romántica. Fittingly, Greatest Hits includes his velvety version of the bossa classic "Desafinado."
Greatest Hits is available for purchase on both CD and as a digital download.