Tito Rodriguez - vocalist, percussionist, composer, bandleader (1923 - 1973)
Tito Rodriguez in the 1950’s through ‘60’s was a smooth voiced Latin nightclub crooner, who reigned over the radio and record charts geared toward the Puerto Rican community both in New York and on the island, where his music is still very popular. His popularity then grew broader and reached into all of Latin America. His distinct, resonant voice floated crystal-clear above the dense sound of his large orchestra, which was the best in its day. He is still revered as an uptempo sonero and a romantic singer who influenced the wave of salsa singers that followed.
Pablo “Tito” Rodriguez was born on 4 January 1923, in Santurce, Puerto Rico. His father was from the Dominican Republic and his mother from Cuba. At 13 he was part of El Conjunto Industries Nativas under the direction of Ladi-Ladislao Martinez and making guest appearances on Radio WKAQ, the premier radio station in Puerto Rico at the time.
At the age of 16 he played maracas and sang second voice with Cuarteto Mayari before relocating to New York to live with his older brother Johnny who had moved there in 1935. A popular vocalist and composer, Johnny had formed his own trio in 1940.
Tito’s first job in New York City was with the Cuarteto Caney. After brief stints with Enric Madriguera and Xavier Cugat as a singer and bongo player; a year in the US Army was followed by a job singing with Noro Morales. “El Dinamico Tito Rodriguez,” was a reissue of a Morales collection with Rodriguez.