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TITO PUENTE TRIBUTE - QUICK TAKE

by Maya - Return to SalsaCrazy

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In the three years Iíve been involved in the salsa-craze this concert sounded the most promising.  Never before have I heard of so many great Latin music stars in one show.  It was not your regular dance event.  This was a showcase of music talent first and foremost.  Yes, there were a lot of dancers on stage too, but it seemed their roles were to entertain the eyes while your ears were full of great music. How many of us really stop and listen to the band while dancing?  Not many.  In this show dancers had to adapt to the bandsí music without a chance of choreographing their routines.

After all, it was a tribute to one of the Latin musicís legends, a musician who inspired his fellow musicians and dancers alike.  Yes, there was a lot of grumbling about the organization of the show, but letís not forget, the promoter Roberto Hernandez has assembled am impressive list of performers and published a glossy program presenting in detail each and every one of them not to mention an in-depth biography of Tito Puente.  Yes, some musicians did not show up and some dancers were ready to go, but never made it on stage even after extensive rehearsals.

Nevertheless, we heard great music from visiting and local salsa stars including Tito Puente Jr., Jimmy Bosch. Dave Valentin, Cachao, Chocolate, Francisco Aguabella and many many others.  Our favorites Charanson leader Anthony Blea and versatile flutist and keyboardist John Calloway took center stage for a change jamming with Tito Puente Jrís orquestra.  Contra Costa Salsa Big Band was quite impressive too.

The audienceís mood was mixed.  Most crowded the stage and cheered.  Some were listening quietly in their seats.  Some were dancing.  There was this pervasive aura of confusion on stage and beyond.  We didnít even know when the show ended.  No one presented the usual closing remarks.  Was it worth $45?  If you were there, you be the judge.  If not, I guess next time youíve got to go to see for yourself.

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