Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente (April 20, 1923 May 31, 2000) was the undisputed king of mambo, salsa, son, cha-cha-cha and Latin jazz, providing catchy rhythms and dance music over a career that spanned half a century. He won five Grammy Awards in his career and was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. He was also awarded a National Medal of Arts in 1997.
He appeared in the film The Mambo Kings as himself and also had guest spots in Sesame Street, The Cosby Show and The Simpsons. Santana covered his Signature Song "Oye Como Va" on their album Abraxas (1970).
Albums with their own entry on TV Tropes
- Dance Mania Vol 1 (1958)
Puente's work provides examples of:
- All Drummers Are Animals: Puente was an energetic percussionist.
- Alliterative Title: His 1956 album "Puente In Percussion", his 1998 album "Timbalero Tropical" and his 2000 albums "Party with Puente" and "Mambo Mambo".
- Celebrity Cameo: He appeared in Woody Allen's Radio Days, The Cosby Show, The Simpsons, Sesame Street, but always as himself.
- Cool Old Guy: Even at age 60, the white haired musician was still touring the world with his ensemble.
- Crossover: The album The Matadors Meet the Bull (1965) is a crossover with jazz legend Sonny Stitt, while Rhythm Stick (1990) had him perform together with Dizzy Gillespie.
- Dancing Is Serious Business: All his albums are dance music, but their easy listening nature does overlook the fact that his band was very tightly controlled and provided exquisite performances at every concert. Just watch Puente's concentration while conducting all his musicians.
- Jazz: He is world famous as one of the most recognizable artists in Latino jazz.
- Mistaken Nationality: He is often incorrectly perceived as Cuban, but was born in New York City; although his parents were Puerto Rican, that is itself a case of Mistaken Nationality, as Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1917.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: To international crowds, especially the younger generation, he is best remembered for his special guest voice role in The Simpsons two-part episode Who Shot Mr. Burns? His cover of "Mambo Gallego" is also much better-recognized (in its remix by D-Code) as the original bumper music for Adult Swim than in its original form. And of course, there are also people who are most familiar with him through Santana's cover of "Oye Como Va" on Abraxas.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The song "Señor Burns" in The Simpsons episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" was composed by Puente. In-Universe he wrote it with this intention after all the bad things Mr. Burns did to Springfield.
- Self-Titled Album: Cha Cha with Tito Puente at Grossinger's, El Rey: Tito Puente & His Latin Ensemble, Tito's Idea, Tito Meets Machito: Mambo Kings.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: Appeared alongside Elmo and Grover in one 1993 episode, making the entire cast dance along.
- Spicy Latina: Several of his albums have a sexy woman on the cover.