The history of Latin music in the United States is rich and diverse, with many influential musicians and styles originating from Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. Machito, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodriguez are three legendary figures who helped shape the sound of Latin music in the United States, particularly in New York City, during the mid-20th century.
Machito, whose real name was Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo, was born in Cuba in 1908 and moved to New York City in 1937. He formed the band Machito and his Afro-Cubans, which became one of the most popular Latin music groups of the 1940s and 1950s. Machito's music blended elements of Cuban Music with jazz, creating a new style that became known as Afro-Cuban jazz. The band's performances at New York's Palladium Ballroom helped popularize the Mambo, a dance style that became a sensation in the United States.
Tito Puente, also known as the King of Mambo, was born in New York City in 1923 to Puerto Rican parents. He began playing music at a young age and went on to become one of the most influential Latin musicians of the 20th century. Puente's music was characterized by his virtuosic percussion playing and his ability to blend Latin rhythms with jazz and other genres. He recorded more than 100 albums over the course of his career and won several Grammy Awards. Some of his most famous compositions include 'Oye Como Va' and 'Ran Kan Kan.'
Tito Rodriguez, born in Puerto Rico in 1923, was a singer and bandleader who also became a major figure in the Latin music scene in New York City. He began his career as a percussionist in various bands before forming his own group, the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra. Rodriguez's music blended elements of Cuban Music with jazz and other genres, and he became known for his smooth, romantic style. Some of his most popular songs include 'Mama Guela' and 'Inolvidable.'
The music of Machito, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodriguez helped popularize a number of dance styles in the United States, including the Mambo and the Cha-Cha. Their music also had a significant impact on jazz, influencing many jazz musicians to incorporate Latin rhythms into their music. Today, their music remains popular and continues to influence new generations of musicians.