Tito Puente  

We knew each other since around 1952, when he worked as a waiter up in the mountains at the President Hotel — he worked many hotels. And we hit off a great friendship, since he was in love with Latin Music. He was a very good dancer. He wanted to learn Spanish. Usually when people want to learn Spanish, if they don't speak the language, they learn the dirty words first, and that's what he learned. I had the privilege of playing his birthday parties many years. One big one was at Roseland in New York, and I played New Year's Eve at Winterland and another in a big hangar: that was the last one, three or four years ago. I knew what kind of music he loved, and he would just take off and have a ball. I can see his face now, full of happiness, dancing.