Néstor Torres: Jazz Flute Traditions

This album, Jazz Flute Traditions, is infinitely more than just a sweeping review of the flute in Jazz. It also lets the listener into the world of Néstor Torres, a flutist of monumental technique and sublime taste who invites us to a viscerally exciting master class traversing the recent history of his instrument played in the style of Jazz and Latin Jazz. With eleven songs breathtakingly explored melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, Mr Torres pays homage to the grand masters of the instrument: Frank Wess, Herbie Mann, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef, Eric Dolphy, Hubert Laws and the forgotten Canadian genius, Moe Koffman, among others. There are also songs written by icons of Classical Jazz and Latin Jazz music such as Joaquin Rodrigo, Luciano Berio, Chick Corea, Neal Hefti, Esy Morales, Irving Fields and John A. Camacho (including those mentioned above). Each one of the songs is performed, solo after solo, to utter perfection by the master musician and flutist, Néstor Torres.

Album cover - Néstor Torres: Jazz Flute Traditions
Album cover – Néstor Torres: Jazz Flute Traditions

This recording will surely add to this Puerto Rican flutist’s reputation as one of the leading players of his generation. To devise a programme encompassing multiple aspects of the flute in a myriad of styles is one thing. To deliver it with the kind of wide-ranging musicianship is another and Mr Torres achieves this remarkably, bringing a sure response to the wry compulsiveness of Mr Koffman’s “Swinging Shepherd Blues”, the spry whimsy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Serenade to a Cuckoo”, the flickering virtuoso panache of “The Golden Flute” and “Gazzeloni” and the sultry melancholia of “Concierto De Aranjuez”. Memphis Underground” played with lucid mastery to match that of the composers’ own versions and arrangements is daunting and “Miami Beach Rhumba” completes this unique cycle, making for a crowning finale.

Spellbinding moments abound in “Memphis Underground” and these melt into the pianism of Silvano Monasterios and Miguel Russell’s percussion colourings. Recorded live for WDNA 88.9 FM radio by William Sigismondi Jr., Pascual Matera, and assisted by Mark Guardia, the sound is seamless and immaculate throughout. The recording is a certified masterpiece not only because the legacy of the flute are probed in quietly persuasive terms as Nestor Torres undertakes this ambitious and superbly executed project, and establishes his own mastery of the instrument as a result.

Track list – 1: Swingin’ Shepherd Blues; 2: Memphis Underground; 3: Jungle Fantasy; 4: Concierto De Aranjuez: Adagio; 5: The Golden Flute; 6: Serenade to a Cuckoo; 7: Sequenza/Gazzelloni; 8: Cute; 9: Windows; 10: S in Love; 11: Miami Beach Rhumba.

Personnel – Néstor Torres: flute; Silvano Monasterios: piano; Jamie Ousley: bass; Michael Piolet: drums; José Gregorio Hernández: percussion; Special Guests (WDNA Scholarship Recipients) Miguel Russell: percussion (2, 3, 11); Ian Muñóz: alto saxophone (6, 8, 11); Marcus Grant: drums (8).

Released – 2017
Label – Alfi Records
Runtime – 1:12:34

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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