The name of Tito Puente is synonymous with Latin jazz. When Tito Puente Sr. died two years ago, his 50 years of creating the synergy of jazz and Latin rhythms didn"t leave with him. Now his son, Tito Puente Jr., has taken up the legacy of his dad"s music.
Tito Puente Jr.: "We are right in the middle of tropical and jazz. There is a market for this music and it is huge overseas. It was amazing how much they love Tito Puente-style Latin jazz. You can dance to it or sit and happily observe it." Puente Jr. will perform this Saturday at the Club Industry.
Puente Jr. is touring the world to prolong the music of his father"s life and its legacy. Puente Jr. will be appearing in Indy for the first time Saturday, Oct. 19, downtown at the Club Industry, 416 E. Wabash. He speaks passionately about Latin jazz, as his father did. NUVO: Has the tradition of Latin jazz been influenced by the sounds of contemporary jazz, in your opinion? Puente Jr.: To me, I think it"s going to be more percussion. I think it"s always been the jazz and blues with the percussion end of it making it jazz and Latino. NUVO: Did the Latin Grammys open up giving Latin jazz its place along with the pop side of Latino music? Puente Jr.: There"s just so many great artists coming out right now, which is even better - especially with our own category in the Latin Grammys. It gives Latin jazz artists like myself and all the other Latin jazz greats like Pancho Sanchez and Eddie Palmieri a category we can call our own, instead of being in a tropical field. We are right in the middle of tropical and jazz. There is a market for this music and it is huge overseas. It was amazing how much they love Tito Puente-style Latin jazz. You can dance to it or sit and happily observe it. Tito Puente Jr. will be bringing a full Latin jazz band with singers, following in his dad"s tradition - but he pointed out that he will also be developing his own musical identity by putting emphasis on dancing. Jazz happenings It"s been like an early winter, with the frost on the pumpkin this week. So there"s some wonderful ways to warm up with jazz around Indy. The Jazz Kitchen has the masterful straight-ahead tenor sax stylings of Rob Dixon"s Quartet at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18. It"s salsa and meringue with Groupo "317" for three shows at 9, 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. The Chatterbox brings in the classic jazz sound of the Indy Jazz All Stars led by saxophonist "Pookie" Johnson Friday, Oct. 18. Ron Brinson & Friends, featuring vocalist Julie Huston, are on the bandstand Saturday, Oct. 19. Sets both nights are from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sullivan"s Steakhouse has the trio of Claude Sifferlen on piano, Joe Deal on bass, and Kevin Johnson on drums Friday, Oct. 18 playing 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. On Oct. 19, it"s Bill Kennaugh on piano, Steve Woerner on bass and Kevin Johnson on drums playing 7 to 11 p.m. Lulu"s at the Commons Mall will swing with vocalist Mary Moss, Carl Hines on piano and Mingo Jones on bass Thursday, Oct. 17 from 8 to 11 p.m. Sangiovese Restaurant offers three nights of diverse vocal talent. Brenda Williams headlines with David Meeks on keyboards and Frank Smith on bass on Wednesdays. Shannon Forsell steps to the mike backed by Ray Larman on keyboards on Thursday and Janiece Jaffe croons, accompanied by Simon Rowe, on Fridays. Ruth"s Chris Steakhouse"s "Sizzling Steaks and Jazz" series will bring back vocalist Wendy Reed"s Trio on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. The Elbow Room continues its Sunday Jazz Brunch with a smile featuring the swinging jazz guitars of Tom Sullivan and Jack Brengle and that Pajama Breakfast, where if you show up in PJs between 10 and 11 a.m. you get free beginnings. Ask for the beignets; they are worth the trip. Rick"s Cafe Boatyard will have Conga Jazz playing 12:30 to 5:30 Sunday, Oct. 20. Vocalist Tim Brickley takes over the bandstand from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.