Friday June 9, 2017
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‘Gracias’ cover by Ernesto ‘Tito’ Puentes. ― AFP pic‘Gracias’ cover by Ernesto ‘Tito’ Puentes. ― AFP picPARIS, June 9 ― Cuban jazz musician and big band orchestra conductor Ernesto “Tito” Puentes died yesterday at the age of 88, his manager said.

A trumpet virtuoso with more than 200 albums, Puentes died in the southern French city of Montpellier, Jean-Louis Perrier said in a statement.

Born on November 7, 1928 in Havana, Puentes started out his career in his native city with two trumpet-playing uncles, becoming well-known in the local music scene in the 1940s before rising to international acclaim.

His last album, Gracias in 2012 featured Cameroonian jazzman Manu Dibango and Ibrahim Maalouf, French-Lebanese trumpeter.

Puentes settled in France in the 1950s.

“The most Parisian Cuban... has left to join other salseros for an eternal ‘descarga’,” said Perrier, referring to an improvised jazz session.

But Puentes preferred the term Afro-Cuban rather than salsa.

“When I played jazz my fellow countrymen would say I was no longer Cuban but a jazzman. Today I’m called a salsero... I prefer the musical term Afro-Cuban rather than salsa, which seems inaccurate and above all, was invented by Americans,” Puentes had said.

“I myself say musician. I try to integrate European and African influences into my music. My music is multifaceted.” ― AFP

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