Jose Curbelo, a Latin jazz bandleader, agent and promoter who helped popularize the cha-cha in the United States and made Tito Puente a star, has died. He was 95.
A resident of North Miami Beach, Curbelo died Friday of heart failure at a hospital in Aventura, Fla.
Curbelo was born Feb. 18, 1917, in Havana to a Cuban mother and a Cuban American father who played violin with the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra.
He began formal musical training at age 8 and by 16 was playing with the orchestras of Los Hermanos Lebartard and flutist-composer Gilberto Valdes, and he co-founded Orquesta Havana Riverside.
He moved to New York in 1939 and worked as a pianist with Xavier...