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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Let's Cha Cha With Tito Puente

Vibe Guajira
Let's Cha Cha With Tito Puente
And His Orchestra
RCA LPM-1392

From Billboard - January 5, 1957: Another sock cha cha album by Puente. The package spotlights 11 danceable, generally unfamiliar selections – all featuring a great beat and attractive instrumentation. Cover – a sensuous photo of a tigerish blonde in the mist of a cha-cha is an eye-catcher.

From the back cover: Tito Puente is a native New Yorker, despite the name which suggests that he was born and bred close to the geographical heart of the Cuban popular dance. Actually he was named Ernest, after his father, just thirty-one years ago last April. Gifted with a strong musical feeling and fascinated by show business, Tito began his career in his teens as an exhibition dancer. He was on his way toward making his mark in the supper club field until he accidentally tore a group of tendons in one ankle, which made it impossible to continue professional dancing. He turned to making music to which other people could dance.

Within a remarkable brief space of time, Tito learned to play piano, mastered the alto saxophone, vibraphone (featured in many of his arrangements), bongo and timbales, an assortment of instruments which made him a key sideman with many dance bands. Following a hitch in the Navy during World War II, Tito spent the next few years in leading bands like those of Noro Morales and Pupi Camp. In his spare time he studied arranging, and soaked up as much information as possible on the practical problems of leading a band; he used schools as the Copacabana, El Morocco and the Stork Club for his texts on technique of satisfying club-owners as well as paying customers simultaneously – no easy feat!

Tito carefully organized a band and made his bid for fame at the end of the 1940s. For a while things were rough. He managed a booking here and there, living of his capital, until he managed finally to audition for the Palladium Ballrooms in New York City, one of the learning dance centers in the country. Since his success there, he has appeared on radio and TV, in night clubs and even on the concrete stage. Puente has appeared in such varied spots as Carnegie Hall and Birdland! Part of his policy has been to build a band with as broad a musical repertoire as possible while keeping in the basic Latin-American framework; his orchestra can change pace in a flash, switching from a mambo to a samba to a waltz, from a for trot to a merengue with equal ease. – Edwin Miller

Lindo Cha Cha
Vibe Guajira
Let's Cha Cha
It's The Bururu
Just For You
Cha Cha Fiesta
Cha Charugao
You Are An Angel

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