Music Showcase Artist
Tito Rodríguez, Jr
Tito Rodríguez, Jr. is one of the leading timbales artists in Tropical Music and Latin Jazz today. Raised in New York, Tito was born to Puerto Rican and Japanese and parents, the only son of the legendary El Inolvidable (The Unforgettable), Tito Rodríguez and Takeko Rodríguez. From an early age, Tito was immersed in the riveting sounds of Mambo, Chachacha, Bolero, Brazilian music and Jazz. Trained in drums, piano, vibes, trombone and timbales, Tito was admitted to the prestigious Berklee College of Music and received his BA from the University of Miami.
Prodigiously gifted as an arranger, composer, producer, and bandleader, Latin superstars Marc Anthony, Gilberto Santa Rosa, and La India have all called on Tito to compose arrangements. He made a mark in TV theme songs, arranging the signature tune for the syndicated Sally (Jessy Raphael) Show.
Tito has toured extensively, performing at prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Vienne, Tiempo Latino, Burgenhausen Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival and the Ravinia Jazz Festival. As guest artist, Tito has appeared at Carnegie Hall. Tito distinguished himself in Puerto Rico at la Día Nacíonal de la Salsa, the Teatro Yaguez, Parque De Las Ciencias and Centro de Bellas Artes. His television appearances include Telemundo, BET Jazz Network and the BBC.
At age 21, Tito’s first album, Curious?, was released on one of the first artist owned labels, TR Records, founded by El Inolvidable himself. The recording featured José Alberto, “El Canario”, on vocals and Adalberto Santiago and Ruben Blades on Coro. Curious? continues to enhance playlists around the world; reaching initial gold record status in Africa, Curious? has recently been rereleased as a Latin Jazz classic by Biography Pimiento Records, distributed by Universal Music Group.
Next came the much-anticipated album Eclipse. Released by Tito and released by Top Ten Records, The Tito Rodriguez, Jr. Orchestra debuted Eclipse on the Spanish Broadcasting System nationwide. Tito’s sophisticated way with lyrics, melody and Latin rhythm instantly became a global sensation, appealing to both dancers and listeners. Eclipse’s hit single Mujer Erotica hit number one on national and international charts for six weeks; todate the album has continuous airplay at Salsa Congresses.
In 2002, Tito combined forces with Mario Grillo (Machito, Jr.) to perform original charts from the era of their fathers. The resulting powerhouse album The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra: Live at the Blue Note, with its “screaming horn section, frenzied rhythm section and its high-octane, bone-crushing arrangements” was met with critical acclaim worldwide.
Its popularity was amplified with an American debut at the Verizon Jazz Festival, a European debut at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, and extensive tours across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe that included stops at Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl and Lincoln Center. Demand for the The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra: Live at the Blue Note, inspired DiscMedi to re-release it in 2008.
Wanting to keep his father’s music and legacy alive, Tito assembled an “all star” lineup of prominent Puerto Rican musicians and launched the Tito Rodríguez Orchestra with Tito Rodríguez, Jr. to critical success. The orchestra plays the original charts, infused with Tito’s expertise and energy. Evolving his father’s original Mambo beat with a contemporary twist, a new sound was introduced, immersing eager audiences in nostalgia.
Paralleling his recording and touring, Tito has established a network of Latin Jazz insiders and has cultivated his creative artistry. Plans for annual recording are in the works, as Tito expands his repertoire with a future label for talented artists.
With his father’s music is a continual source of inspiration and Tito honors his legacy with a new album, Transición, an auditory and visual tribute to his father and mother, released in December of 2017.