Rodríguez, Tito [Pablo]
- Lise Waxer
(b San Juan, Jan 4, 1923; d New York City, Feb 28, 1972). Puerto Rican popular singer, bandleader and composer. Raised in Puerto Rico, he arrived in New York City in 1939, singing in the band of his brother Johnny before moving on to perform in the orchestras of Enric Madriguera, Xavier Cugat and Noro Morales. He recorded the hit song Bim-bam-bum with Cugat in 1942. In 1946 he joined the band of José Curbelo along with another promising young musician, Tito Puente, then left to form a small ensemble of his own in 1947, and by the early 1950s had established one of the leading mambo orchestras in New York. Like fellow ‘Mambo Kings’ Puente and Machito, he performed regularly at the Palladium Ballroom.
One of the most popular vocalists and Latin bandleaders of the 1950s, Rodríguez is best remembered for his romantic songs. His band was notable for its driving rhythm section and tight horns, a perfect complement to his velvety voice and improvisatory skills as a ...