December 26, 2000

Random House launched its new Spanish-Language book publishing program,with the publication of Recordando a Tito Puente (Remembering Tito Puente).

"We are listening very carefully to the Hispanic market and publishing the kinds of titles they are asking for" says Lisa Alpert, Publishing Director and Vice President of Random House Español. "And we are proud to inaugurate Random House Español with the biography of a man whose music touched everyone's heart. Tito Puente was a larger-than-life figure who transcended regional borders. We are delighted to take his life story to Spanish-language speakers everywhere."

Recordando a Tito Puente is a great beginning for Random House Español. Not only was Puente a talented and respected Latin musician, he was also a beloved figure in his native New York and worldwide. Puente earned the well-deserved title of El Rey (the king) throughout an illustrious career that spanned seven decades, produced a mind-boggling 118 music records and received four Grammy awards.

Steven Loza, the Mexican-American author of Recordando a Tito Puente, himself a musician, has captured not only Puente's life story, but also the development of Latin music in America. Through revealing interviews with Puente himself, renowned Latin music historian Max Salazar, longtime Puente associate Joe Conzo, music entrepreneur Chico Sesma and musicians Ray Santos, Poncho Sanchez and Hilton Ruiz, he has composed a definitive biography of Puente. The musician and writer in Loza combined to present the reader of Recordando a Tito Puente with a complete study of the musical style and innovation of maestro Puente's music.

"Tito Puente was a genius at the level of a Beethoven or an Ellington or a Miles Davis," Mr. Loza said. "How many hundreds of books have been written about those guys? And here we have one book on this major Latin Musician, it is about time!."

Mr. Loza is an associate professor of music at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is also the author of Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles, as well as a Latin jazz performer.

Recordando a Tito Puente, confirms that El Rey Puente was a successful crossover artist who never lost touch with his Puerto Rican roots nor his Hispanic audiences. It transports the reader to the heady, music-filled nights of New York's Palladium in the 40's. It reveals that Puente was a masterful musician, formally-trained at The Juilliard School of Music who could play the piano, saxophone, marimba, vibraphone, drums and of course, his favorite instrument, the timbales. He felt equally comfortable performing Latin music, big-band sounds or jazz.

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