Giovanni Hidalgo Announces Tribute to Tito Puente


This post is also available in: Español

With the celebration of Tito Puente’s centenary in 2023, Giovanni Hidalgo announced his “Tribute to the King“. This tribute comes in two formats; a just-released album, and a concert event in Puerto Rico (for now).

Origin of Giovanni Hidalgo’s Tribute to the King

The genesis of this tribute goes back to 1996 when Giovanni, who at the time was part of Tito Puente’s Golden Latin Jazz All-Stars, approached the King about the idea of recording an album in his honor. The great master timbalero gave him the green light and even offered to be there to help him with the project.

Giovanni Hidalgo and Joey Mercado at Press conference
Giovanni Hidalgo listens as Joey Mercado (promoter) talks about the Tribute to the King concert at the press conference.

But it took 15 years after Tito’s death for Giovanni to finally realize his dream of a Tito Puente tribute project. The album, recorded with the help of Puente’s original band members, was just released.

This album wasn’t released earlier as it didn’t find the right promoter to launch it per Giovanni’s terms, until now!

Along with the album, Giovanni Hidalgo wanted to do a concert to commemorate the maestro Tito Puente’s 100th birthday, almost to the date. The concert, organized by promoter Joey Mercado along with Giovanni’s manager Yamil Joglar and his crew, will take place on April 22, 2023, appropriately at the Tito Puente Amphitheater in Puerto Rico.

I’m working with the maestro Giovanni Hidalgo on another project, and we took a few minutes to talk about this tribute to the King Tito Puente, who not only was his band leader during Giovanni’s days with Puente’s Golden Latin Jazz All-Stars but, as Giovanni told me, “…he was like my father“.

Here’s a piece of our conversation, where he talks about the origins of this project (in Spanish):

A Noteworthy Tribute to Tito Puente

If you listen to the album “Tribute to the King“, you’ll realize this is a quality tribute to Tito Puente. I’ll review the album shortly in a separate blog.

The concert promises to be a great show, and there are hints of a tour. Giovanni assembled a great group of musicians that will accompany him on stage. Again, I’ll get into that in the next blog.

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