2017 Ertegun Jazz Hall Of Fame: Tito Puente, Don Redman, McCoy Tyner Honored For Contribution To Music

Tito Puente
A picture dated 10 July 1983 showing legendary Puerto Rican 'drum king' Tito Puente performing on the French Riviera in Nice. Tito Puente, 77, died early 01 June 2000 in New York. Photo: Getty Images

Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrated the 2017 Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame inductees: Tito Puente, Don Redman, and McCoy Tyner. After gaining the majority popular vote cast by jazz fans around the world, the newest Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame class were celebrated during curated sets from July 18 to 20, 2017 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

The Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame honors legendary artists or members of the jazz community based on their singular dedication and outstanding contribution to jazz. To date, Jazz at Lincoln Center has inducted 54 members into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame and will continue to induct new members annually. This year’s inductees were nominated by a committee of select musicians and scholars and voted in by public vote from April 5 through April 30. 

Carlos Henriquez and his Mambo Orchestra paid tribute to the most important Latin musician of the last half century, Tito Puente, in company of the Saxophonists Jorge Castro, David de Jesus, Roman Filiu, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown; baritone saxophonist Carl Maraghi; trumpeters Maneco Ruiz, Mike Rodriguez, Joe Magnarelli, Cheito Quiñónez; pianist Robert Rodriguez; music director/bassist Carlos Henriquez; bongo player Camilo Molina; timbales player Marcos Lopez; conga player Marcos Torres; and vocalist Marcos Bermudez.

The celebration brought together the Puente family, including Ronald Puente and Tito Puente, Jr. – both who played “Oye Como Va” – as well as Latin Grammy Award winning flutist Nestor Torres and  Marco Bermudez of Spanish Harlem Orchestra. 

The Puerto Rican "King of the Timbales" Tito Puente, helped to bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds like mambo, son, and cha-cha-chá, to mainstream audiences. Puente has many awards and recognitions. He was awarded a Grammy at the first Latin Grammy Awards, winning Best Traditional Tropical Album for Mambo Birdland; and in 1995, he appeared as himself on the Simpsons episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?"

In the shows, Puente joins Springfield Elementary School as a music teacher. But the principle of the school, Seymour Skinner, losses of their oil well which Mr. Burns managed to pump first, making him the legal owner of the well. Causing millions of dollars in debt, budgets in the music and maintenance departments of the school are took to pay off the debt. Puente lost his job after the lose of the oil.

Mr. Burns is shot during the drama. Puente becomes one of the prime suspects in the investigation and is the first to be interviewed by police, but he is cleared. Seven alternative endings were filmed of various characters shooting Burns. Puente is one of the alternates. Although all endings were filmed, the ending of Maggie Simpson shooting Burns was the ending chosen to air.

Also on June 5, 2005, Puente was honored by Union City, New Jersey with a star on the Walk of Fame at Union City's Celia Cruz Park. And an amphitheatre was named in his honor at Luis Muñoz Marín Park, next to the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Puente is often credited as "The Musical Pope" and "The King of Latin Music". He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that endured over a 50-year career. Puente, died early 01 June 2000 in New York at 77 years old due complications after open heart surgery at New York University Medical Center, according to his manager, Eddie Rodriguez, via The New York Times.




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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.