Samuel Torres

The imposing talents of one the most talented Latin jazz musicians today are combined with the organic richness from some of the greatest cultural melting pots around the globe, and the results will be as exciting and virtuosic. Torres was born in Bogota, Colombia’s capital city. He was raised in this sophisticated cultural hub where classical and jazz music are complemented by salsa and a wide range of Colombian folkloric idioms. The extended family of musicians gave Torres access to many Colombian music styles, including the cumbia and vallenato, and also provided him with a wide range of African, European, and indigenous influences. Edy Martinez, his uncle, was a major inspiration. He had been a popular arranger and pianist in Ray Barretto’s New York City conjunto in the 1970s. Torres also cites Barretto and credits his exposure to Barretto’s seminal Barretto albums, which featured his uncle, the late Latin jazz legend The Other Road, and salsa superstar Indestructible as being a major influence. Torres began performing in Bogota at the age of 12 and developed techniques that enabled him to adapt quickly to the demands of salsa, jazz, and pop music. He is a classically trained percussionist and earned a degree from Bogota’s prestigious Universidad Javeriana in Music Composition. The young, resourceful artist was an established player in Colombia’s music scene. He backed leading Colombian musicians while also serving as music director and arranger for popular telenovelas and films. His career took a dramatic turn shortly after he arrived in the U.S. when Arturo Sandoval, a Cuban trumpet player, invited him to join his band. Torres spent four year touring the globe and recording with Arturo Sandoval, enhancing his skills while also attracting the attention to a long list renowned musicians with whom he would eventually work. He would record and perform with a wide variety of Latin and pop artists, including Chick Corea and Paquito D’Rivera as well as Don Byron and Richard Bona. His talents were also featured in concerts with orchestras such as the Berlin Symphoniker and City of London Sinfonia. The highlight of the Colombian musician’s career is his performance at the 2000 edition Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, where he was second, and his association to Latin Percussion, Inc., which produced the DVD Drum Solos Revisited. Martin Cohen, founder of LP, has worked with many of the best Latin percussionists in the world over the past 40 years and he praises Torres for being the most skilled arranger and producer he’s ever met in more than 25 years. His debut album as a leader, Skin Tones, was released in 2006. It quickly established his reputation as one the most innovative percussionists of Latin jazz. JazzTimes magazine called the effort “intelligent, sophisticated, and explosive”. Yaounde is the eagerly awaited follow-up. This recording is more adventurous stylistically than the previous one. It features 13 tracks that draw on the vast array of Colombian folkloric traditions Torres has collected, as well as African sounds and shades of funk and avant garde jazz. Chamber Music America awarded Torres a New Jazz Works Grant in 2012. He wrote a 10 movement suite about a tragic event that occurred in his native country. Forced Displacement, his new album for Zoho Label is dedicated to victims of violence in Colombia that has been ongoing. Samuel Torres is more than a percussionist, as he convincingly shows through his music. Samuel Torres is a fully-developed musician in the true sense of the word. He follows his instincts passionately, expanding his horizons and honing his vast, international skills. From

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