Willy's NYC Salsa Project
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Willy's NYC Salsa Project


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"Editor's Pick - It's a Killer - Highly Recommended"

Editor's Pick: Finally, a New York salsa project to match the heat of this summer! Just in time for school, let this project be a lesson as to how to get it done right. Spanish Harlem Orchestra singer Willy Torres pulled together some top talent, including SHO's Bobby Allende on timbales, trumpeter Pete Nater, and guest singer Hermán Olivera. There's also pianist Efrain Davila, Nelson Negrón on cuatro/guitar, trombonist Ron Prokopez, bongocero Carlitos Soto and many others. Torres opens with the salsa classics "A Las Seis" and "Rompe Saragüey" then eases into fiery original tracks. He couldn't resist a new arrangement of Tito Puente's "Yambeque," and why not? It's a killer. Highly Recommended.
Bruce Pollin
09/03/08 - Descarga.com - Bruce Pollin

"Ottimo cd che coniuga la salsa ‘Old School’ al moderno Sound Newyorkino"

Gia’ nel progetto ‘Spanish Harlem Orchestra’, il percussionista e vocalista Willy Torres si presenta con questo album da lui stesso prodotto per www.LatinStreetMusic.com
Sono 10 brani ( 50’) che comprendono pezzi originali di Willy ( come gli ottimi ‘Baila con sabor’ , ‘ Lo que traigo yo’, ‘Si te preguntan’ – da rimarcare il dialogo tra Sax e Trombone - ) come brani standard :’ Rompe Saraguey’ ( interpretata da Herman Olivera e con un bel passaggio jazzato del bassita Nelson Torres e del pianista Desmar Guevara ) o ‘La muerte’ ( un classico del ‘Gran Combo’ con altro bell’ assolo del trombonista Ron Prokopez ) e ancora ‘ A las seis’ di Jimmy Sabater e il magistrale ‘Yambeque’ composto dal Maestro Puente. Per finire: ‘ El ultimo dia de Abril ‘ (balada) e un pezzo di puro Latin jazz: ‘ The fireman’ . ‘Classico’ del sound Jibaro Portoricano e’ il ritmo Fajardeño , qui rappresentato da ‘ Pa’ mi tierra’ composizione che si avvale della performance di Nelson Negron al Cuatro. Ottimo cd che coniuga la salsa ‘Old School’ al moderno Sound Newyorkino, in parte ascoltabile su www.vinilemania.net.
09/01/08 - Roberto Rabbi - www.Salsa.it

"Resulta reconfortante escuchar el debut del vocalista, percusionista y arreglista Willy Torres"

Resulta reconfortante escuchar el debut del vocalista, percusionista y arreglista Willy Torres, (Spanish Harlem Orchestra) acompañado de algunos de los mejores musicos de la gran manzana, New York City. "Lo Que Traigo Yo" es un album entretenido de principio a fin, con algunos muy buenos covers como La Muerte (El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico) con un excelente solo de Trombón de Ron Prokopez, asi como el famoso Yambeque de la Sonora Ponceña), A Las Seis y Rompe Saragüey con el aclamado vocalista Herman Olivera como invitado. Fuera de los covers tambien hay muy buenas composiciones del propio Torres como por ejemplo el excelente corte romantico "Si Te Preguntan".
Dj El Chino
Solar Latin Club, Cali - Colombia
- Dj El Chino - Solar Latin Club, Cali - Colombia

"WOW! Salsa that does not miss a step."

WOW! Salsa that does not miss a step. The salsa dancers are going to enjoy this new CD. Willy takes us back to New York City with the sound of hard salsa that begs the body to move with the rhythms.
Leon Reyes
KVMR 89.5 FM, Nevada City/Sacramento Ca
07/29/08 - Leon Reyes. KVMR 89.5 FM, Nevada City, CA


"Lo Que Traigo Yo" by Latin Street Music Inc.

Currently playing on CMJ, NPR, Jazz Week & BDS reporting stations in the continental USA & Puerto Rico.



Willy Torres was born in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, on December 31, 1975. Growing up on his grandfather’s farm, he was exposed not only to rigors rural life, but also to the Campesino or Jibaro music of Puerto Rico. Willy grew up in a musical household (both parents were professional musicians), and began singing at the age of four. Influenced by his father, renowned percussionist William Maisonet ( A/K/A Papo Conga) who performed with Merengue icons Wilfrido Vargas and Freddy Kenton, Willy began playing Congas at the age of seven. His mother Doris, sang with local trios, and even recorded a few Boleros with an independent label. At the age of 10(ten) Willy began formal vocal studies with Linda Yaber, and Thelma Ithier. It was only natural that Willy quickly developed a keen ear, a natural affinity for percussion, as well as a deep love for music of Puerto Rico.

When his parent’s family relocated to New York City in the mid 80’s, Willy began playing alto sax in high school concert, and jazz bands. He also performed at many neighborhood events with Los Hermanos Torres, an ensemble that was led by his uncle, bassist Nelson Torres. His vocal talents soon caught the ear of Salsa artist Larry Harlow, of Fania All-stars fame, who quickly recruited a then 16-year-old Willy Torres as a member of the Latin Legends Orchestra. And so it was that Willy went from singing at church socials in the Bronx, to sharing the stage with the likes of Larry Harlow, Adalberto Santiago, Ray Barreto, Yomo Toro, Junior Gonzalez, and Salvador Cuevas, in front of a crowd of 50,000 in Lima, Peru. When time permitted Willy also sang with Johnny Ray “Salsa Con Clase”, and Conjunto Imagen with whom he also occasionally played piano.

In 1993 Willy was invited to join the orchestra of Sony recording artist Victor Manuelle. It was a difficult decision, because of all that Willy had going on in New York, and joining Victor’s band would mean relocating back to Puerto Rico, Willy accepted the offer and was soon touring the world as back-up singer for Victor Manuelle. In 1998 when Victor’s band was on hiatus, Willy began performing with Rey Ruiz, and occasionally Carlos Ponce. Although he had successfully established himself in Puerto Rico, in the winter of ’98 Willy decided to return to New York.

Upon arriving in the Big Apple, Willy once again began performing with the Latin Legends, as well as singing backup for Johnny Rivera, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ruben Blades, Michael Stuart, Obie Bermudez, Willie Colón, D’Mingo, Brenda K Star, Pedro Jesus, Jerry Rivera, Miles Peña, Tito Gomez, and Yomo Toro. He also became the musical director for Joe King, and Rey Ruiz. Willy’s professionalism and knack for creating vocal arrangements on the spot, have made him a regular on the New York Latin session scene. He has recorded background vocals for Rey Ruiz, Tito Nieves, , Alexandre Pires, Ricardo Montaner, Christian Castro, Andy & Lucas, Son Callejero, D’Mingo, Yadira Coradin, Luis Damon, and George Lamond, Ricky Martin to name a few.

In 2003, distinguished pianist/arranger/producer Oscar Hernandez, who had long been aware of his talent and versatility, called Willy to sub on a few concert dates with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Impressed by Willy’s vocals and command of the stage, Oscar asked Willy to join the group permanently. On the Spanish Harlem release, Across 110th Street and United We Swing Willy shares the lead vocal duties with band-mates Marcos Bermudez and Ray De La Paz, as well as with the legendary Ruben Blades and Paul Simon.

Although he plans to continue touring and recording with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Willy continues to be active on the session, not just as a vocalist, but also an arranger and producer. He has arranged and produced projects for Yadira Coradin, Wilfredo Vargas, Krystal Joan, Son De Madre, Richard Rosario, Isabel Martinez, and Kathy Christina. In 2004 Willy released his first instructional video distributed by Hal Leonard Publications “ Singing Salsa with Willy Torres”. In addition, he co-produced the instructional video “Modern Conga Techniques” featuring world-renowned percussionist Roberto Quintero in 2005 and Oscar Hernandez’s Salsa Piano in 2007, and is currently working on a book on singing and Latin vocal styles.

Willy is one of the featured singers for the “Paul Simon” Capeman Music that was performed in the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in April 2008, along with artist like Obie Bermudez, Frankie Negron, Claudette Sierra, Jorge Maldonado, Ray De La Paz, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Alkebulan to name a few.