May 28, 2024

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Nestor Torres receives Latin Grammy Nomination for his release Jazz Flute Traditions: Video

Latin Grammy Award Winning Flautist Nestor Torres receives Latin Grammy Nomination for his release Jazz Flute Traditions on Alfi Records.

With his Caribbean heritage, Classical training and and a unique, rhythmic & melodic approach to Jazz improvisation, Nestor Torres’ talkative and mellifluous flute sound remains apart in a class all by itself. Now, with his 15th album release, the Flautist shows his deep respect and knowledge for the tradition of Jazz and Latin Jazz in its purest forms.

This eleven-song offering pays homage to legendary Jazz Flute pioneers like Herbie Mann and Eric Dolphy, as well as Torres’ idol and mentor, Hubert Laws. The tribute expands further, from Frank Wess and Moe Koffman, who were playing the instrument when it was still showing up in the “miscellaneous” categories of major 1950’s jazz polls, to revolutionaries such as Yusef Lateef and Esy Morales.

“For years I’ve wanted to pay tribute to the Jazz Flute pioneers that opened the way for us”, says Nestor. The selection of songs are daringly diverse. From the popular and catchy ‘Swingin’ Shepherd Blues’ and funky ‘Memphis Underground’ to the avant garde in ‘Gazzelloni’; from Count Basie’s straight ahead ‘Cute’ and Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ‘Serenade To A Cuckoo’ to hard core Latin Jazz with ‘Jungle Fantasy’. The stylistic jaunt goes on with Lateef’s haunting ‘The Golden Flute’ and includes Chick Corea’s flute showcases ‘Windows’ & ‘Spain’. Nestor Torres defies the daunting task of bringing together what would seem to be an incongruent mix & match of unrelated pieces by creating a cohesive and exciting narrative of the rich, deep and somewhat overlooked contribution of the flute to the Jazz cannon. Torres himself contributes to the Jazz Flute Tradition with his very personal renditions of the mid 20th century standards ‘Miami Beach Rhumba’ and Cole Porter’s ‘So In Love’.

14 previous albums as a soloist, 5 Latin Grammy nominations, one Grammy nomination and one Latin Grammy Award, as well as collaborations with artists such as Dave Mathews, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tito Puente, are testament to the remarkable versatility of an Artist who continuously challenges himself to push music forward, this time steeped in the total tradition of Jazz. Jazz Flute Traditions is a revelation of Nestor Torres’ essence, prowess and artistry, as he pays a most worthy tribute to and stands on the shoulders of those who came before him.

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If a flute could talk and sing, it would certainly be in the voice of Nestor Torres, for he speaks through his instrument. Equally fluent in Jazz, Classical and Latin idioms, his fluid versatility sets him apart. Nestor’s total command of his instrument allows him a freedom of expression that is at once captivating and liberating, powerful and genuine.

Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Nestor Torres has played music all his life. His parents (the father, a gifted musician himself, and mother, an educator and business woman) gave him a set of drums at age 5, and later took up the flute (at age twelve). He moved to NYC with his family in his teenage years and went on to study at Mannes School of Music and later at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. At that time he was also able to learn to improvise in a style of Cuban Dance music called ‘Charanga’, which helped to shape and develop Nestor’s melodic and danceable sound.

In 1981, Nestor moved to Miami, where he continued to develop his unique sound – and a strong following. Since then he has – and continues to – tour all over the world. He has also performed and recorded with the likes of Ricky Martin, Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Gloria Estefan, and many more.

Nestor Torres has recorded 14 Cds to date. His 5th & 7th records, Treasure of the Heart and My Latin Soul, were nominated for a Latin Grammy, and his production This Side Of Paradise won the Latin Grammy award in the Pop instrumental category on September 11, 2001. 

“Of course it was a great honor and privilege to win the Grammy,” Torres reflects. “That being said, the fact that I was to receive it on 9/11 gave my work and my music a stronger sense of mission and purpose. Terrorism and violence come from ignorance, anger, and hopelessness. Music inspires and empowers; it soothes the human heart and enlightens the spirit. I have made it my prime point to create music and live my life in a way that does just that.”

From that experience, together with a commission to compose and perform for the Dalai Lama, Nestor Torres produced Dances, Prayers & Meditations For Peace in 2005.

In his brand new CD, Nouveau Latino, Nestor Torres returns to his Latin roots with a fresh approach, impeccable musicianship, and irresistible improvisations. Featuring songs from stars like Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades, Torres’ interpretations of these great Latin hits appeal to those discovering the songs for the first time as much as those who remember them.

In addition to his achievements in the studio and on the stage, Torres is also recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees; one in 1994 from Barry University, and the other in 2000 from Carlos Albizu University, for his commitment to youth education and cultural exchanges.

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