A spontaneous Latin-jazz fusion took hold of the world in the 1940s, at the approach of World war II -- a graceful invention attributed to Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo. Since then, tens of thousands of jazz musicians around the globe have paid them the supreme compliment: they have adopted it.
A half century later, the New York-born Puerto Rican, music pioneer Tito Puente arrived with Salsa Meets Jazz. Here, he continued to merge the two styles in such a fashion that proves satisfying to either hardcore jazz or to Latin music lovers.
Tito's emphasis illustrated the dramatic evolution that took place since the early days of the marriage between both diverse styles.
One major change was the introduction of salsa into the Latin music mainstream in the late 1960s. Salsa (Spanish for sauce) had virtually taken over from the traditional popular dance modes, like the old boleros and mambos.
Tito, or "El Rey" to his loving legion of friends, was the king of salsa. No one commanded the passion his music evokes. Ask Dizzy Gillespie. The late Woody Herman and Stan Kenton agreed. After finishing their own gigs, they and other legends would hot-foot it along with the ordinary folks over to hear Tito at New York City's now-defunct Palladium.
This mutual admiration society made Tito a top authority on both jazz and Latin. The reasons are obvious on Salsa Meets Jazz. He delivers.