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Two Books I Recommend

Posted on : 20-06-2013 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music


I would like to recommend two books that I just finished reading about Tito Puente and Lena Horne that I found educational as well as insightful perspectives on their lives and music.

In 1982 I was a member of the on stage orchestra that backed Lena Horne in her one woman show “Lena, the Lady and her Music”. I knew of the legendary Ms. Horne in a passing way but the show pulled me into the intimate details of her life and her impact on American society as a performer and an activist. After reading “Stormy Weather” (The Life of Lena Horne) by James Gavin I have a much more profound respect of what she went through and survived as an artist and as a person. It is an amazing American story, wonderful and tragic all at once ” Mambo Diablo” (My journey with Tito Puente (by Joe Conzo with David A. Perez) is a personalized historical account of the life and musical career of Tito Puente. In 1987 Tito Puente, Sheila E. and the Pete Escovedo recorded a live album at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles California. I was a member of the orchestra and responsible for the horn arrangements. Pete and Tito agreed that we should do a “head” arrangement of Tito’s “El Rey Del Timbal” as a showcase for Tito, Sheila and Pete. I asked Tito how he would like the horns voiced and he said “however you like”. As we were pressed for time he changed his mind and said “let me do it”. This was one of the most important music lessons I ever received and I began to fully understand the profound musicianship of Tito Puente. ” Mambo Diablo” traces and explores many aspects of Tito’s life that I found illuminating and filled in a lot of important facts about his relationships with Tito Rodriguez and Machito.

Would love to hear your feedback and perspectives on these books. Hasta later.

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