Tito Puente Jr. begins Alaska tour tonight in Kodiak

Tito Puente Jr., seen here performing at Aretha Franklin’s birthday celebration in 2011, will appear on the Gerald C. Wilson stage today at 7 p.m. (AP photo)

KODIAK — Kodiak just got hotter with the arrival of mambo musician Tito Puente Jr. and his 10-man orchestra, who will perform today at 7 p.m. in the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium.

Puente’s musical style is a mixture of Latin and jazz.

The concert will begin with mambo music created by his late father Tito Puente in the 1950s, and will lead into music from the 1960s and ’70s.

“The concert is more like an educational experience of going back in time and learning where this music Latin jazz was derived from,” Puente said. “You’re going to get a history lesson on mambo music and how it derived from New York City with my father.”

Following in his father’s musical footsteps, Puente has released 13 singles and five albums. His new album, “Got Mambo?” is his second effort at salsa and mambo music. It includes 10 tracks, seven original and three modernized remakes of songs his father recorded in the 1950s.

“It’s some swinging music,” Puente said. “You play it and you want to dance.”

Puente has been planning to tour Alaska for a few years.

“My father came through Alaska many times before doing his Latin jazz ensemble, and we wanted to go to places my dad didn’t hit when he was alive,” Puente said. “We saw Kodiak on the map and it all came together.”

The Kodiak Arts Council decided Puente would be a great musician to host because he appeals to a wide demographic.

“We have people in Kodiak that like jazz, and our mission is to bring various types of music to Kodiak,” arts council executive director Tom Quass said.

Before the concert, Puente will stop by the Kodiak High School jazz ensemble to work with the band and add Latin flair to its music.

Concert tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for students. Family packages are available for $100. Tickets can be purchased at the Kodiak Arts Council website or at the auditorium box office, which opens at 10 a.m.

Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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