Tito Puente: "The King of Latin Music."

Essay by roy123High School, 11th gradeA+, October 2005

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Tito Puente, who was formally born Ernest Anthony Puente, Jr. was born on April 20, 1923. He was born and raised in a section of New York City known as the Spanish Harlem. His father, Sr., worked in a razor blade factory, while Ercilia Puente, Tito's mother, noticed his son's musical talent as she enrolled him in piano lessons for 25 cents when he was seven. As child he also went to dance lessons and played baseball until he injured his ankle in a bicycle accident. Although Puente started in his musical talent in piano his true love was in percussion. His idol Gene Krupa, who was a drummer, influenced Puente to become a drummer and he did so by studying drums by the age of ten. In his early teens Puente started to play at gigs near his home. By the age of 15, Puente had dropped out of high school to play with the Miami Beach Band, where he played Americanized rhumbas and a variety if Latin-American rhythms, including tangos, waltzes, and paso dobles.

After returning to Manhattan Puente was hired to play drums with the orchestras of Noro Morales and Jose Curbelo, the latter of whom would become Manhattan's first mambo king. Puente's first big break then came when the United States entered WWII, the drummer of Machito Afro-Cubans was drafted into the war and Puente was chosen to fill his spot. Puente helped revitalize the band because he played the drums standing up rather then sitting down. This drumming job then came to halt when Puente himself was drafted into the military; he served for 3 years on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. While being in the military Puente had many positive experiences, he was able to teach himself the...