Tito Puente (April 20, 1923 - May 31, 2000) was an influential Latin jazz and mambo musician. He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that helped keep his career going for 50 years. He and his music appear in many films such as “The Mambo Kings” and Fernando Trueba’s “Calle54.” He guest starred on several television shows including “The Cosby Show” and “The Simpsons.”
Puente studied music at Juilliard School of Music, where he completed a formal education in conducting, orchestration and theory. In 1992 he was inducted into the National Congressional Record, and in 1993 he received the Smithsonian Medal. During the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his mass popularity, and helped to bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds, like mambo, son, and cha-cha-cha, to mainstream audiences. In 1979 Puente won the first of six Grammy Awards for the albums. In 1990, Puente was awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. He was also awarded a Grammy at the first Latin Grammy Awards, winning Best Traditional Tropical Album for “Mambo Birdland.” He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Source - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tito_Puente