North America – USA –CaliTifornia
This month we are sure that you will have time to enjoy an excellent reading at home. So we recommend this book by Josephine Powell. An interesting biography about the legendary Tito Puente, that takes us on a journey through the more than 60 years in which he performed.
Further the life of Tito Puente, you can know his insight into the Latin music industry. With many anecdotes of his encounters, racial discrimination while touring and how that impacted his relationship with other band members. There are also numerous insights into his personality, his temperament, and the many obstacles he had to overcome to achieve legendary status.
Josephine Powell’s book on Tito Puente and his contributions to Latin music and dance is a treasure trove of people, places, facts and history. Because of the author’s place in the history of Latin dance, she takes the reader with her through that fascinating maze of how artists like Puente changed the exposure and tastes of the American public and the world.
The Latin Ballroom world today reflects how we adore – and then neglect and forgets – the people who made us who we are. She mentioned many fascinating dance-related characters in this story that takes place in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, the Catskills and Havana.
It is also a much-needed history of great nightclubs and ballrooms, which are only dim memories for the young – but in their time, were the breeding grounds of Latin music and dance. Tito Puente’s percussion and passion are finally brought to life in a fascinating book.
To remember Tito Puente’s career as accurately as Josephine Powell has done makes this biography a worthwhile read. Tito Puente the man and Tito Puente the musician are blended into the tempo of the times during which the musical man lived. For young musicians seeking success Josephine Powell’s well-written commentary provides a glimpse of what can lie ahead in one’s career; so do read Powell’s take on Tito Puente’s life and perhaps capture a taste of how you too can climb the charts with a dash of spice in your style.
With over 100 albums, several Grammy nominations, 7 Grammys and posthumously awarded The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, his footprint in the world of music will forever be the standard of excellence that others will look to emulate.
Josephine Powell took on the monumental task of writing about his life, the forward was written by Tito Puente 2 months before he died.
Because of their lifelong friendship of many decades, Josephine was the one person who could create this book. Her talent and passion will pulled this off to perfection. He was a man who brought his music to the world, and put the Mambo on the map.
This book never could have been written without her dedication and perseverance and the personal moments she shares. From the very first chapter, the quality of her writing can be seen as she starts with the moments leading up to his death and continues for 16 more, giving you the history of Latin music from its inception to the music of today. Throughout her many archives of pictures from her private collection, your eyes will wide with wonder.
Josie Powell traces the evolution of Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican and jazz forms from their generally recognized origins through the end of the twentieth century, focusing on Puente’s interactions with professional allies and constant rivals.
Powell documents musical events as an aficionado of the Latin genres, almost religiously avoiding disclosure of Puente’s family life. Those not yet born during the Big Band decades or Mambo mania can imagine the atmosphere from descriptive passages of Manhattan ballrooms, Havana dance halls, LA nightclubs.
About Tito Puente
Ernesto “Tito” Puente was born in 1923 in Spanish Harlem and grew up with the advent of radio and American swing bands. At 10 years old he aspired to be a dancer, like Fred Astaire. An ankle injury gave him the opportunity to explore his talent as a musician. At fourteen he won the coveted Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa drum contest. Tito became a master percussionist. His instrument was the timbales, a pair of cylindrical drums beat upon with sticks. When he joined the dynamic Machito Orchestra at seventeen he saw a promising future, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 took him off to war.
He led a makeshift orchestra delivering lovable American wartime tunes when he was not fighting. He returned home wounded, weary and jobless. Puente’s tale should have been the story of every returning American GI, who went off to war, came home to his sweetheart, attended college, raised a family and settled down in an adorable house. Things were not that way.
After the war his obsession for Cuban music drove him to Havana. He attended secret meetings of Santería, an Afro-Cuban religious cult with its roots steeped in mysticism often referred to as black magic. With the lure of the sacred batá drum he discovered a world of rhythms never heard by a white man’s ear. He found himself inside the beat, and thoroughly possessed. Soon Tito became a devotee of Santería and used those drum patterns and calls, which were the mainstay and backbone of his music. Today this hot hypnotic music is known worldwide as Salsa.
About Josephine Powell
Author Josephine Powell – a music historian, lecturer, and consultant on ballroom music and dancing and Latin American music – was a consultant (music, history, and dance) on the motion pictures Salsa, Havana, and The Mambo Kings, and their soundtracks; The Mambo Kings track received a Grammy Nomination. She also consulted on two Golden Eagle television shows; two television documentaries, one Presidential Inaugural Ball, and two Grammy-winning record albums by her mentor Tito Puente.
In 1990, she obtained a star for her mentor on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, orchestrated his associated live concert on the Boulevard, and organized a gala event at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with music industry executives, film producers, and celebrities.
Powell’s dance career took her to the South Pacific, the Philippines, Guam, Hong Kong, Thailand – where she performed for the Royal Family – and Vietnam, where she introduced mambo to the troops in a revue she wrote herself. A Gold Medal ballroom dancer, Powell was Tito Puente’s West coast mambo dance partner, and a cast member of the Broadway show Sketchbook in Las Vegas.
Through touring the country for over a decade with stage and lounge shows, along with work in the recording, television, and movie industries, Powell learned wardrobe design, writing, comedy, and choreography. Appeared at the Tropicana, El Rancho Vegas, Flamingo, and Nevada Club in Las Vegas; The Golden Hotel and Mapes Hotel in Reno; The Wagon Wheel in Lake Tahoe, and The President Hotel in Atlantic City, among others.
After an injury forced her to retire from dance, Powell became a real estate agent in Beverly Hills, where she became actively involved in political work with celebrities and later joined Connie Stevens’s organization Les Girls. Powell’s work and charitable activities afforded many opportunities to work with Hollywood producers, directors, writers, and luminaries.
Powell studied the history of ballroom music and dance, ethnomusicology, journalism, and Spanish at UCLA. A regularly featured musicologist on radio stations KXLU and KPFK, Powell receives many requests for lectures and consultations. She has been a presenter and judge at numerous dance competitions, including the Feather Awards and the U.S. Open National Swing Dance Competition. The Mormon Temple Genealogical Library in Los Angeles has made her its expert lecturer on French Colonial Maritime records. Since 1986, she has conducted ten research and study trips to Havana, where she is a curatorial consultant for El Museo Nacional de la Música Cubana.
With information from: https://josephinepowell.com
You can buy this wonderful book in Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tito-Puente-When-Drums-Dreaming/dp/1425981585