Nouveau Latino (Diamond Light Records)

Nestor Torres

Released September 30, 2008

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2009




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.”

Dan Kimpel

Track Listing:

1. Quimbara 4:16

2. Petite (Mujer Divina) 5:39

3. Isla Del Encanto 6:25

4. Cocinando 9:53

5. C.P. 4:47

6. Karakatiskis 5:02

7. El Raton 4:03

8. Soñando Con Puerto Rico 6:19

9. El Gran Varon 6:16

10. Pablo Pueblo 7:24

11. Maria Cervantes (Suite) 10:27


Nestor Torres: flute

Milton Salcedo: piano, keyboards

Richard Bravo: percussion

Tommy Ruiz: trombones, vocals

Jerry Bravo: bass

Siman Char: piano

Manolo Rodriguez: timbales, güiro

Gerardo Rojas: alto sax

Felipe Fournier: vibes

Alexander Ayala: bass

Savier Diaz: congas

Reynaldo Burgos: piano

Jerry Medina: trumpet

Francisco Arocho: trombone

Ruben Benitez: cowbell

Juan Manuel Leguizamon: vocals

Alexandra Alban: vocals, quinto, percussion

Muriel Reinoso: violins

Diego Camacho: timbales, bongos

Executive Producer: Nestor Torres

Mastering: Mike Couzzi, Jorge Garcia

Design: Bea Alvarez

Cover photo: Paul Graco


Nestor Torres is one versatile flutist, having created smooth-jazz tunes in addition to contemporary jazz with hard-driving Latin rhythms. On Nouveau Latino, the Puerto Rican native now living in Florida returns to his Latin roots with his versions of Latin salsa hits from the ’60 and ’70s, plus a few standards, such as “Cocinando” by Ray Barretto.
Celia Cruz’s “Quimbara” is complementary to Torres’ percussive style of flute playing, while Hector Rivera’s “Petitie (Mujer Divina)” sways with Tommy Ruiz’s vocals. The great Ruben Blades is represented with “Pablo Pueblo,” a gorgeous ballad with only Torres’ flute and Milton Salcedo’s piano accompaniment.
“Karakatiskis” showcases the Puerto Rican style known as plena, and “Sonando Con Puerto Rico” is from singer-songwriter Bobby Capo, here featuring only Torres’ flute, the bass and congas. “Maria Cervantes (Suite)” is a song Torres has played in his live shows for many years, and is by Puerto Rican Latin-jazz pioneer and pianist Noro Morales. Simply put, the salsa tradition lives on through Torres.

Brian Soergel (JazzTimes)