Tito Puente Jr. mesmerises audience at Latin Jazz Showcase
Performing alongside his band, Tito was nothing short of an incredible sight to watch and thoroughly entertaining at the very least on the stage of the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium at the H. Lavity Stoutt Commuity College (HLSCC). The band performed for the Latin Jazz Showcase in the 18th Season of the Performing Arts Series at HLSCC.
Tito told the audience during his performance, when he was told that his band was coming to the Virgin Islands, “I wanted to do something that was multi-cultural, I wanted to bring the best…”
The band featured a nine-member all male ensemble including Tito on the timbales, Grammy-nominated musical director, Marlow Rosado on piano, Luis Rodriguez on bass and Daniel Pena among others.
The music was as invigorating as any lover of the genre would come to expect, while the band’s performance onstage was most engaging and at various intervals, intentionally comedic. The audience simply lapped it up.
He praised those responsible for bringing him and allowing him to continue the celebration of his father, Tito Puente's legacy, “it’s good to see that people still have love and respect for good cultural music here in Tortola,” he said.
The band rolled out various numbers such as Que Sera, Junior’s Mambo (a song written in tribute to his son) and Complicaciones (Complications) to great applause from the audience.
As he took patrons down memory lane with renditions from the Palladium era of Latin Jazz, Tito encouraged persons to come out of their seats during a performance of one of his dad’s hits, Ran Can Can, to better savour and enjoy the sweet sounds that the King of Mambo once played around the world. Sure enough, they seized the opportunity immediately, as several persons strode to the stage and took to the 'dancefloor' to get their groove on as the sweet sounds of mambo, son and the cha-cha-cha continued to reverberate around the halls of the auditorium.
After the show, Tito described the experience of performing in the Virgin Islands as ‘beautiful’, “I really enjoyed coming on here… the experience was absolutely phenomenal and incredible… my father performed here twenty-seven years ago so it was like a God-send that I happened to be performing tonight and his spirit lives here.”
He took time out to autograph copies of his new album, ‘Got Mambo?’, for some of the numerous fans who sought him out after the show while seizing the chance for photo opportunities.
One of the audience members, Mr Karl Scatliffe, said of the performance, “It was a beautiful show, I like Latin music so it is something that I’m used to.” He expressed that he liked the mambo and the cha-cha-cha as it was a "one-two step kind of thing... easy to dance to”. He added, “BVI people are kind of shy, but I’m hoping that [with] a little more stuff like this they’ll be understanding ‘well hey… you can get up and shake your leg’… we were enjoying it.”
Another audience member said, “I thought it was nice… interesting. It was the first experience that I’ve had at the Latin Jazz Showcase and I enjoyed it. It is something that I would do again. I’ve been to Puerto Rico numerous times, but I’ve never experienced it like that, I was quite entertained, it was quite thrilling.” She said the atmosphere was very lively and she fought herself to sit down as the music played on.
Next in line for the 2012-2013 performing arts series, will be the VI Showcase which is slated for February 16, 2013 at the same venue.