Groove to the Latin Beat at the Tito Puente Latin Music Series

By 
Allen Bush
June 22, 2010
La Timbistica kicks off the 2010 Tito Puente Latin Jazz Series at Mozart Park on July 8.
Son de Madre performs Cuban music, July 15, at O'Day Park.
Fausto Cuevas interrupts his tour with Stevie Wonder to perform at O'Day Park on July 22.
William Cepeda developed a sound that he calls Afrorican jazz based on Puerto Rican folk music and jazz. Hear him on July 29 at O'Day Park.
Grammy-nominated singer Jerry Rivera has recorded some of the biggest-selling salsa albums in history. His song "Amores Como El Nuestro” provided the sample for Wyclef and Shakira's international hit "Hips Don't Lie." Expect an ebullient crowd to fill City Hall Plaza on July 31.
Berklee professor Eguie Castrillo y su Orquesta is like time traveling back to when Mambo Kings, Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodríguez packed the Palladium Ballroom in New York. Castrillo heats up the crowd for Jerry Rivera at City Hall Plaza on July 31.
Gregorio Uribe, a native of Colombia, brings his 15-piece band that takes his audiences higher with every tune to the final show of the series, August 5, at the East Boston Greenway Caboose.
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

It's hard to cha-cha or salsa under summer temps without a refreshing breeze and plenty of room to dance. The Tito Puente Latin Music Series takes place in July and August at outdoor locations across Boston, cool backdrops for sultry experiences. The six-concert series is an infectious soundscape of timba, mambo, bolero, Cuban, and Afrorican jazz mixed with funk, soul, and groove music. Performers include Berklee faculty, students, and alumni, along with world-renowned artists from Puerto Rico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, Israel, and Brazil.

The Tito Puente Latin Music Series kicks off Thursday July 8 atMozart Park in Jamaica Plain, then moves to O'Day Park in the South End for July 15, 22, and 29. The series takes a turn with aCity Hall Plaza extravaganza on July 31 before concluding at theEast Boston Greenway Caboose on August 5.

The free concerts are from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Call 617 927-1707, or visit berklee.edu/events/summer for more information. All locations are wheelchair accessible. The O'Day Park concerts move inside to Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in the event of rain. All others are canceled with no rain dates.   

Berklee College of Music; Villa Victoria Center for the Arts; ParkARTS; and the Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events present the sixth-annual series.

July 8 - La Timbistica at Mozart Park, 10 Mozart Street, Hyde Square, Jamaica Plain

La Timbistica is a contemporary Latin band with some of the best young Berklee student and alumni musicians on the East Coast. It was named 2008 Jazz Group of the Year in the collegiate category by Down Beat magazine. Members have performed or recorded with such prominent Latin figures as Paquito D'Rivera, Victor Manuelle, and Kevin Ceballo. The band's repertoire ranges from Afro-Cuban and Brazilian classics to modern salsa, timba, and original compositions. La Timbistica is a mainstay in the Boston music scene with regular gigs at the Havana Club, Mojito's Lounge, and Wally's Jazz Café. The band recently appeared at the Duke Ellington and Monterey jazz festivals

July 15 - Son de Madre at O'Day Park, 85 West Newton Street, Boston's South End

Son de Madre is a Latin band based in New York with members from Cuba, Argentina, Israel, and the United States. The band's international flavor is a blend of Cuban music-son, mambo, bolero, timba-infused with jazz, funk, and Brazilian influences. Son de Madre and its members are on the top of the Latin music scene and have performed or recorded with artists such as Celia Cruz, Paquito D'Rivera, Victor Manuelle, and La India, and on the most prestigious stages in New York's jazz scene. The band's second recording is on its way.

July 22 - Fausto Cuevas y su Orquesta la Moderna at O'Day Park, 85 West Newton Street, Boston's South End

Fausto Cuevas is currently on tour with Stevie Wonder, and is flying to Boston from Norway for this concert. A drummer from Brownsville, Texas, he made his way to Berklee, where he discovered his love for percussion and studied with masters Giovanni Hidalgo and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez. From Boston, Cuevas traveled to Los Angeles, where he currently resides. In addition to performances at the famed Playboy Jazz Festival and the Blue Note in New York, Cuevas has recorded, performed, and toured with world-renowned artists including Julio Iglesias, Al Jarreau, Tito Nieves, Roy Hargrove, and Britney Spears.

July 29 - William Cepeda at O'Day Park, 85 West Newton Street, Boston's South End

Accomplished trombonist and noted composer and arranger William Cepeda developed a unique style that he calls Afrorican jazz-a fusion of jazz with the folk music of his native Puerto Rico. Cepeda studied at Berklee, where he learned from great jazz musicians about improvisation and composition. He played with Dizzy Gillespie and Miriam Makeba. Cepeda has won awards and grants from Meet the Composer and the American Composers Forum. He is currently on faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Cepeda will perform with a group of Berklee faculty, alumni, students, and guests.

July 31 - Caliente, a Celebration of Latin Music and Culture with Jerry Rivera and Eguie y Su Orquesta at City Hall PlazaOne City Hall Square, Boston

Through a special collaboration with Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events, the series descends on City Hall Plaza for the remarkable Caliente, a Celebration of Latin Music and Culture. Grammy and Latin Grammy–nominated salsa singer Jerry Rivera was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and signed with CBS Music as a teenager. By his second album, Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors), he was scoring No. 1 hits in Puerto Rico, the United States, and across Latin America. His third album, Cuenta Conmigo (Count on Me), became the biggest-selling salsa album in history, and held the No. 1 spot on the Latin American Billboard chart for three consecutive months. Wyclef Jean sampled Rivera's "Amores Como El Nuestro" in his 2004 song "Amores como el nuestro," which would later become the worldwide number-one hit "Hips Don't Lie" by Wyclef and Shakira. 

Berklee professor Eguie Castrillo is from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and his Eguie y Su Orquesta—styled after big bands that created the legendary Latin music scene at New York's Palladium Ballroom in the 1950s—is a high-octane crowd pleaser.

August 5 - Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta at East Boston Greenway Caboose, 144 Marginal Street, East Boston

The wildly danceable Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta is a 15-piece group that harkens back to traditional Colombian bands with large horn and rhythm sections. Directed by Berklee alumnus drummer, composer, and arranger Uribe, the band plays his original songs and traditional music from his native Colombia. A highlight at any concert is when Uribe plays the same accordion that he's had since his youth. Uribe's original music is influenced by his travels all over South America—where he played guitar to support his wanderings—and the punk and rock bands he played in as a teenager. Uribe currently lives in New York and plays steady gigs between Boston and Miami.

Now in its 14th year, ParkARTS began as Mayor Thomas M. Menino's initiative to present a yearlong program of arts and culture related programs and events in Boston's park system. ParkARTS, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department's multifaceted arts program, incorporates the visual, performing, and participatory arts. The 2010 ParkARTS performing arts program, sponsored by Bank of America, will present concerts in Boston neighborhood parks that range from jazz to symphonic music. 

Villa Victoria Center for the Arts is a nonprofit arts and culture center dedicated to preserving, promoting, and celebrating Latino arts and artists, and creating dynamic cross-cultural collaborations. Villa Victoria Center for the Arts is a program of Inquilinous Boricuas en Acción, a nonprofit organization that since 1968 has been a leader in the Boston community for holistic community development and programming. Villa Victoria Center for the Arts is located in the heart of Villa Victoria, on West Newton Street.

The Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events (MOATSE) is responsible for advancing the arts, tourism, and culture in the city of Boston by providing advocacy, support, and promotional and technical assistance, and by producing special events and public celebrations that reflect the city's rich diversity.