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Tito Puente Facts

The King of Latin Jazz: Exploring Tito Puente Facts

Tito Puente, also known as “The King of Latin Jazz,” was an American bandleader, musician, and composer. He was born on April 20, 1923, in Harlem, New York, and passed away on May 31, 2000, in the same city. He is recognized as a pioneer of Latin music who took traditional styles and fused them with jazz, creating a unique sound that captivated audiences worldwide. In this article, we will explore Tito Puente’s life and career, along with fascinating facts about the man behind the music.

Singer’s Bio

Ernesto Antonio Puente Jr was born to Puerto Rican parents in New York. From a young age, he was surrounded by music, and by the time he was 13, he had learned to play the piano, timbales, and percussion instruments. He attended Juilliard School of Music in New York City and later served in the Navy during World War II. Upon his return, he continued honing his skills, playing with top musicians like Charlie Parker, Machito, and Tito Rodriguez.


Tito Puente was born on April 20, 1923, in Harlem, New York. He died on May 31, 2000, in New York City, at the age of 77.


Tito Puente was married twice in his life. His first marriage was to singer and dancer, Margaret White. The couple tied the knot in 1955 but divorced in 1965. Puente remarried in 1969 to his second wife, Maria Luisa Gazzano, who remained with him until his death.


Tito Puente had five children, three from his first marriage and two from his second marriage. His children from his first marriage are named Audrey, Richard Anthony, and Tito Jr. His children from his second marriage are named Jean Marie and Lisa Puente.


Tito Puente stood at 5 feet 7 inches.


Tito Puente’s musical career spanned five decades, and he recorded over 100 albums. He began his career playing jazz but later moved on to Latin music, which became his signature style. His music was a fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz, which he referred to as “cubop.”

Puente formed his first band in the 1940s and soon became known for his electrifying live performances. He was often called upon to perform at high-profile events, such as the White House and the Grammy Awards. He also made appearances on popular television shows such as The Simpsons, The Cosby Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Top Songs

Puente’s top songs include:

1. Oye Como Va
2. Ran Kan Kan
3. Mambo Diablo
4. El Ray del Timbal
5. Take Five
6. Guaguancó Margarito
7. Cuando Te Vea
8. Picadillo
9. Tito on Timbales
10. Emerald Beach

Net Worth

Tito Puente’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be around $5 million.


Tito Puente left a lasting legacy in the world of music. He has been honored with numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, posthumously.

In addition to his musical contributions, Puente also mentored and inspired many young musicians. In fact, Carlos Santana has attributed his love for music to Tito Puente, stating, “He opened the door and let the young ones in to show the way.”

Tito Puente’s impact on music continues to be felt today. His music has been sampled by artists in many genres, and his influence can be heard in the work of musicians who took inspiration from his unique sound.

In Conclusion

Tito Puente’s life and music have left an indelible mark on the world. He was a true pioneer who transformed Latin music, and his contributions continue to inspire musicians worldwide. Through his music, Tito Puente brought people together, transcending racial and cultural barriers and spreading joy and unity. Today, we celebrate his life and legacy and remember him as the “King of Latin Jazz.”

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