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Tito Puente Tribute




Tito's 2001 Birthday Tribute

Tito Puente's birthday was always a day of joy for Latin Percussion, and gave us a chance to celebrate with this great man of music to whom we will forever be greatly indebted.

Always the life of the party, it was in 1979 in my house in Hillsdale, New Jersey, that Tito began his longstanding tradition of diving headfirst into the whipped cream decorating his birthday cake. Another memorable time was during Tito's 65th birthday party, where an assembly of great Latin percussionists gathered around The King in a South Bronx playground to witness him do it again.

Tito was not "above" returning to the neighborhood he grew up in, nor was he reluctant to dress in some of the costumes we rented for the many LP photo shoots with myself behind the camera. Whether it was in a king's robe (complete with scepter and jeweled crown), or wearing an artist's beret and paint brush as "Tito the Painter" next to his custom-painted timbales, Tito's sense of humor and easygoing nature shone through.

Tito was kind enough to be a part of the Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble that I assembled in 1979 to showcase his great music around the globe. As a result of these tours, LP was able to grow a market for percussion which has been embraced by people worldwide from all walks of life.

Whenever one sees or hears the timbale, it is important to remember the man that gave integrity and widespread acceptance to this instrument and music. Tito was the man that moved this percussion instrument to the front and center of the band, and earned it a profound respect among the public.

I will forever remember and respect The King for giving so many of us happiness through his music, as well real meaning to my life.

Martin Cohen LP Chairman & Founder
Founder & Director