Tito Puente Remembered Recollections of bandleader, composer and arranger Tito Puente by vibrophonist Dave Samuels. Samuels played many times with Puente and his band — remembers those times with Puente fondly. Tito Puente died Wednesday of complications after open heart surgery. He was 77. David Samuels is the founding member of the Caribbean Jazz Project.