As the preeminent flautist in the Latin jazz genre, Puerto Rican–born Nestor Torres cut his musical teeth in the steamy Latin dance clubs and superheated jazz scene of New York in the ’60s. He returns to the format-free genre with Nouveau Latino, his first CD in two years, with a revered repertoire of Latin jazz standards.
“It’s all about the real Latin groove and the dancer,” explains the Latin Grammy winner. Paying homage to the stars of salsa, from Celia Cruz and Willie Colon to Ruben Blades and The Fania All Stars, Torres integrates a wealth of musical influences into a heady mélange of effortless melody and fiery rhythms that echo Cuban dance music, Puerto Rican bomba and plena, the Brazilian samba, merengue from the Dominican Republic, Colombia cumbia and the rhythms of Panama, all ingredients in the rich stew that heated up in New York to become modern-day salsa.
Joined by a group of talented young musicians, Torres tracked half of the project in Puerto Rico. “To record live, and to do so in Puerto Rico, is a real homecoming for me,” he enthuses. “It was like it used to be, when everybody recorded at the same time, before ProTools. But, we also kept the production state of the art, using the latest technology to create music that moves forward, pointing the way to a future where that which is universal transcends today’s tendency to taste the ‘flavor of the minute’.”
Salsa is the soul of Nouveau Latino, says Torres. “The blessing of having been part of the New York salsa scene at its best cannot be expressed in words. Finally, the time is right for me to celebrate and share with my fans — and the world — a part of the legacy I owe so much to.”