When the imposing talents of one of today’s most versatile Latin jazz artists meld with the organic richness of some of the world’s greatest cultural melting pots, the results are guaranteed to be as fresh and virtuosic as they are revealing and magical.
Torres was born September 4, 1976 in Colombia’s bustling capital city of Bogotá and was nurtured in this culturally sophisticated metropolis where jazz and classical music share the stage with salsa and an infinite variety of Colombian folkloric idioms. His earliest exposure to music came at home, thanks to an extended family of musicians and ready access to a wealth of Colombian music genres, from the infectious rhythms of the cumbia and vallenato to styles which reflect a range of African, indigenous and European influences, including the porro, bambuco and pasillo.
A major inspiration was Edy Martínez, an uncle who had risen to fame in the New York City salsa scene in the early 1970s as a pianist and arranger in conga player Ray Barretto’s popular conjunto. Torres further cites Barretto as a primary influence and credits exposure to two seminal Barretto albums that featured his uncle, the early Latin jazz classic The Other Road and the salsa powerhouse Indestructible, as helping to spur his interest in becoming a musician.
By the age of 12, Torres was performing with various Bogotá ensembles, developing techniques that allowed him to quickly adapt to the demands of jazz, pop music and salsa. A classically trained percussionist, he earned a degree in Music Composition from Bogotá’s esteemed Universidad Javeriana. Before departing for the U.S. in 1999, the resourceful young artist had become an established figure on Colombia’s hectic music scene, backing leading Colombian performers while serving as an arranger and music director for his country’s highly regarded telenovelas (TV soap operas) and films.