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Tito Puente Tribute


Tito and Max Perform Together in NYC

The double bill of Tito Puente and his orchestra and drumset great Max Roach with his jazz quartet presented on December 15, 1998 at the 92nd Street YMHA in New York City was one of the musical highlights of the year. The program began with Max's quartet  followed by Tito's 11 piece band. At the end, Max joined the Latin orchestra on drumset to show the beautiful marriage that can be made when jazz and Latin are combined. Max, according to Tito was one of the pioneers in joining these powerful musical forms.

There was an anxious moment at the end of the show when Max keeled over backwards. He was assisted back to the drums and finished the drum duet he was performing with Tito and I was assured that Max is fine and that the problem was a faulty drum throne. Max is 74 and the King, Tito Puente is 75.

I wasn't quite 18 years old in 1956 when I first heard Max Roach in Birdland in New York. His recordings with Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins were some of the first jazz recordings I bought and his music has shaped my musical taste that has no doubt helped in guiding me on the path that led to the creation of my company, LP®. This evening was the first chance that I had to meet Max when Tito introduced us. I found it necessary to correct Max when he said "...his and Remo, another rich drummer" that I wasn't a drummer.