Tito Puente Rocks the Schoolyard

In the 1950s and ’60s American dancehall bands, which had for decades mainly performed dances and compositions that originated in the U.S., began to actively communicate with Latin musicians and add Latin dances like the mambo, samba and cha-cha-cha to their repertoires. Bebop band leaders like Dizzy Gillespie also wove Latin elements into their music, and in turn American jazz began to appear all over Latin America, fusing with Latin rhythms to become “Latin Jazz.” Latin jazz was syncopated like American jazz but didn’t emphasize the same beats, giving the music a different feel. Cuban and Cuban-American bandleaders like Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’ivera and Tito Puente, became especially popular in the U.S. Watch this old-school video of Tito Puente and you’ll see why.

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