The music and life of late Latin jazz legend Tito Puente will be celebrated April 21 with a star-studded event at New York's Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Actor Jimmy Smits will host "Rums of P

The music and life of late Latin jazz legend Tito Puente will be celebrated April 21 with a star-studded event at New York's Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Actor Jimmy Smits will host "Rums of Puerto Rico Presents: Viva Puente, A Tribute to the Real Mambo King," which be headlined by Ruben Blades and will serve as the kick-off of a nationwide tribute tour.

Along with Blades, others who will perform Puente songs are Jon Secada, Dave Valentin, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Tito Puente Jr. Cucco Pena will conduct the orchestra. A song Pena has written specifically for the event will be performed by all of the musicians as the show's finale.

"It is truly an honor for me and my family to participate in a real and honest tribute to my father," Tito Puente Jr. said in a statement. "Finally [there will be] a worthy tribute to a man who has crossed all borders of this earth with his music."

Several notable actors will be on hand to deliver anecdotes about the artist, including Rosie Perez ("Do the Right Thing," "Riding in Cars With Boys"), Freddy Rodriguez ("Six Feet Under"), Wanda De Jesus ("Blood Work," "CSI: Miami"), and Roselyn Sanchez ("Rush Hour 2," "Boat Trip"). The event will be taped for later broadcast on New York NBC affiliate WNBC, with later airings on Telemundo and Bravo a possibility.

A limited amount of tickets for the show are on sale today (March 27) via the Lincoln Center box office and can be purchased through 212-721-6500 or lincolncenter.org. Proceeds from "Viva Puente" will the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Side Street Kids of the Bronx, and the Tito Puente Scholarship for Latino Outreach at the Hackley School, with a portion of earmarked to provide scholarships for disadvantaged youth pursuing music careers.

The Rums of Puerto Rico Presents: Viva Puente, A Tribute to the Real Mambo King concert tour will visit U.S. cities throughout 2003. An itinerary for the trip has not yet been announced, but will be posted and promoted on the Rums of Puerto Rico Web site.

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