Puerto Rican-born jazz flutist Nestor Torres will release a career-spanning compilation next week (April 24th), titled The Very Best Of Nestor Torres.
Torres says that back in the '80s, he attended a Buddhist lecture in Japan on the arts, where a point of the lecture stayed with him for many years. "He talked about how some of the greatest works of art are of a religious nature, of a religious inspiration and overtones. And he said that we know this from our western perspective in terms of Christian works, that's what is really widely known. And he said the time had come for a new type of religious work, a new type of spiritual art to emerge. And that stayed with me."
Torres grew up in a family of musicians; his father was a pianist, organist and vibraphone player who often jammed with other musicians while young Nestor played along on pots, and later, a kid-sized drum set. But when entering one of the island's music schools, he was faced with a dilemma. Torres explained: "When I entered middle school I had a chance to go to what they call in Puerto Rico Escuela Libre de Musica; they have six of them throughout the island. And at the entrance exam or the entrance forms as I'm applying to go in, they asked what instrument do you want to learn. I said Hmmmm. And I just simply did not know."
Torres said he then made the decision that determined his future: "I mean, I had been playing the drums since I was like 5, Santa Claus had brought me a little drum set. It was professional, it was little, but it was a professional drum set. And I just didn't think about percussion to study music. I mean, if I was to study music I wanted to learn musical notes and harmonies and scales and stuff like that. So as I'm trying to figure it out I looked up and I saw up on the blackboard and saw a picture of a flute."