Tito Puente

MISS PATTY: Who wants to hear about the time I danced in a cage for Tito Puente?
KIDS: [raising hands] Me!
MISS PATTY: It was the summer of ’66 …

Ernesto “Tito” Puente (1923-2000) was an American singer, songwriter, big band leader, percussionist, and music producer. He is best known for his mambo, cha-cha-cha, and Latin jazz compositions, produced over a fifty year career, several of which were used in films. He was sometimes known as “The Musical Pope” and “The King of Latin Music”, and was at the peak of his popularity in the 1950s. He was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

It is unclear where Miss Patty may have danced for Tito Puente. He was a fixture at the Palladium Ballroom in New York, a centre for Afro-Caribbean dance music, but that had just closed down, in May 1966. Maybe she means the spring of 1966?

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