Friday, 23 October 2009 11:56

Tito Puente: music legacy recalled in documentary

Tito Puente was one of the towering figures in the evolution of salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz music. But beyond his contributions, Puente will be remembered as a sincere, dynamic individual who affected all those around him. For his contributions as a percussionist, bandleader and dazzling performer, Puente will be noted in

history books as one of the most fundamental and influential figures in salsa music. Latino Public Broadcasting "Voces" will air a special tribute on Puente in October.

Like the deaths of Afro-Cuban music giants Mario Bauza and Perez Prado before him, Tito Puente's was another major signpost in the long history of salsa and Latin music. He was prolific (he recorded more than 100 albums), influential, and ultimately a critical player responsible for shaping the growth and development of the tropical/Caribbean genre.

Puente died, at 77, after a heart ailment at New York University Medical Center on June 1, 2000.

Latino Public Broadcasting examines the impact and influence Puente exerted through six decades of artistic contributions. Produced by George Rivera, the 60-minute documentary life features commentary and insight from family, friends and colleagues including Bill Cosby, Marc Anthony, Armand Assante, Jimmy Smits, Paquito D'Rivera and others.

When Puente died in 2000, Emilio Estefan recalled him as a titan:

“Tito Puente, through his immortal music, his charming charisma and service to others not only became a pioneer, but was an inspiration for artists and music lovers alike. If anyone knew how to live life it was Tito; what a more wonderful way to live life than doing what you love."

For his artistic integrity, his tireless dedication and unending enthusiasm for Afro-Cuban music, Puente will remain a constant source of admiration and inspiration for people throughout the world.  

Check local listings for details on TV programming details.

The series is airing all over the country at different times. Check out station info on the website and also also watch full episodes online there too: