“I’ve always wanted to visit the Lionel Hampton School of Music,” says Puente in a phone interview while on tour on the East Coast.
He explains that Hampton and his father, jazz and Latin legend Tito Puente, were close friends who worked together at times in their musical careers. Visiting the school named in Hampton’s honor will be “something special,” Puente says. This is his first visit to the area; he is among those performing in the two-day music event.
As a musician, Puente has more than just his name and family heritage going for him. It’s true, much of his career is dedicated to carrying on his father’s legacy, but he’s also creating his own music. This summer he anticipates the release of a fourth Latin music album, containing both his father’s music as well as his own.
“I love performing his music, though it can be tricky being his son. I have some big shoes to fill,” Puente says.
Puente and his father didn’t always see eye to eye musically. Puente’s musical career began in a heavy metal rock band, a musical genre his father didn’t like — but then, the feeling was mutual; Puente didn’t like mambo.
But while on a worldwide tour with his dad, Puente began to listen to the clave and its rhythms and eventually began to enjoy the sound. Now he’s making the same percussive sounds as his father.
“I want music that will make me get up and dance and clap,” Puente says.
With that as the driving force in his music, it’s safe to say audience members at Saturday’s concert might be inclined to do the same.
“I require it,” Puente teased. “I’m going to make you sign a waiver when you get your ticket.”
Besides Puente, Saturday’s concert also features separate musical artist Marlow Rosado, a piano-playing, Grammy Award-winning musician. Rosado has worked with, written and produced for dozens of artists, including Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Selena and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, along with Puente.
“As long as it’s Latin music, I’m all over it,” says Rosado, who lives in Miami, during a phone interview. His name is featured in countless album liner notes as pianist, producer, songwriter and/or musical director.
Rosado began his career in music education, but eventually landed in music production. His creativity proved to be a valuable asset to a wide variety of musicians, especially those in the Latin genre, though he makes regular forays into other styles. Finally, several years ago, he produced his own music.
“I never considered myself to be an artist,” he says, “But after such an extensive catalogue with other people, it was time to explore what I’m all about.”
One of those albums, “Retro,” won an American Grammy as Best Tropical Latin Album in 2012. Rosado is now working on his fourth album, a collaboration with 80-year-old piano legend Larry Harlow.
Participating in this weekend’s music event is a small-scale version of what Rosado does every day.
“I love fusion — world music is what I do,” Rosado says.
The two-day music event kicks off with a Friday performance by the Alseny Yansane Trio, presenting West African drumming and dance out of Guinea, alongside Navin Chettri, Nepali percussionist and event organizer. UI students will also perform, both separately and with the guest musicians. A Saturday morning workshop is free and open to the public. The event ends with the Saturday concert featuring Puente, Rosado, Chettri and UI students.
To stay on top of their music, follow Tito Puente Jr. at @titopuentejr and Marlow Rosado at @marlowrosado on Twitter.
If you go: World Music Celebration schedule
Alseny Yansane and Navin Chettri with UI Jazz Choir, World Beat Ensemble and Fusion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Friday at UI Haddock Performance Hall in Moscow. Cost is $8/adults, $5/students and senior citizens, tickets available at the door.
World Music Workshop featuring the culture and traditions of drumming and dance in Guinea, 10:30 a.m. UI Administration Building Auditorium in Moscow. Workshop is free and open to public.
Tito Puente Jr., Marlow Rosado and Navin Chettri with UI Jazz Band, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at UI Haddock Performance Hall in Moscow. Cost is $8/adults, $5/students and senior citizens, tickets available at the door.