Born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, New York, Tito Charneco is the third of four children, raised in a musical environment of juxtaposing cultures.  It was his desire, from his earliest recollections, to follow in the footsteps of his father and play the saxophone. 

Tito began formal musical training at age 12 in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, and performing professionally throughout the island shortly thereafter.  He was influenced early on by the likes of Paquito D’Rivera and Gato Barbieri. 

Music led him to travel throughout the Caribbean, North and South America, and Europe, instilling—beyond the desire to perform—a great love for traveling and exploring the cultures and sounds of the world.  Upon hearing the piercing tone and fluid playing Charlie Parker, Charneco knew he wanted to spend his life playing jazz.

He received a Bachelor in Music in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2002.   After working as a jazz educator in universities throughout the country, and completing a Masters in Divinity from Andrew University’s Theological Seminary in 2010, Tito returned to UNT, where he recently completed a Masters in Music in Jazz Studies.

Charneco worked as a leader of various projects throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area.  In addition, he also worked as a freelance musician, playing regularly with the Brad Leali & Shelley Carroll Big Band, Jose Aponte’s Caribe Club, and Jorge Ginorio’s Latin Jazz Ensemble, to name a few. He has also performed with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Lynn Seaton, Dan Haerle, Stefan Karlsson, Fred Hamilton, Michael Palma, Ed Soph, Steve Weist, Nino Segarra, and Havana NRG, among others.

In 2012 Tito recorded an album of original compositions, entitled after his latest project—Diaspora—referring to the geographic dispersion of a people from their homeland.  He was joined by UNT’s jazz faculty members Brad Leali (saxophone), Jose Aponte (drums), Stephan Karlsson (piano), Fred Hamilton (bass), Tony Baker (trombone), and alumnus Evan Weiss (trumpet).  The members of the ensemble reflect the aforementioned dispersion.

In the summer of 2014 Charneco relocated to Cologne, Germany, where he has been working and freelancing throughout the country and Europe.   He currently co-leads the collective Unit 5 with pianist Jerry Lu, which includes Niklas Walter (drums), Caris Hermes (bass), and Maik Krahl (trumpet and flugelhorn), performing regularly throughout North-Rhine Westphalia.  The quintet plans to record it first album of original compositions in the fall of 2015.

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by Tito Charneco - Diaspora