For his performances in Boca Raton Tuesday night, Grammy-winning flautist Nestor Torres will do something out of character: He’ll look backward for inspiration.
Of course, this is not a bad thing when you can draw on such contemporary-jazz albums as “Dance of the Phoenix” and his breakout Billboard chart-topper “Morning Ride,” as well as the Grammy-nominated ”Nouveau Latino.” It is an audience that Torres sounds particularly enthusiastic about.
“It’s always exciting to play at Jazziz,” Torres says. “With some audiences who don’t get to hear me play as much, because I'm always traveling, we’re going to go back to the basics of my earlier songs. But we’re going to have a little stronger tinge of Latin jazz.”
Torres was speaking from Los Angeles, where he’s finishing a new project, NeoDance, a stage production with video and music. He is tight-lipped about the show, which pulsates with a youthful contemporary energy, but says the goal is for a September premiere.
The project that began with a commission for one song set to dance choreography turned into 10, Torres says, “everything from nuevo tango, hip-hop and disco to bachata to cha-cha.”
“It’s dance-centric, and therefore it’s a stage production more than just a straight-out record. It’s very exciting,” he says.
Young performers and the potential they hold for the culture have always been important for Torres, also an educator who has served on the faculty at Florida International University. On Mother’s Day last month he premiered a piece called “Successors” with the Miami Children’s Chorus at the New World Center on Miami Beach. The theme of the concert was “Voices of the Future.”
Torres says he based his text on writing from his mentor, Buddhist philosopher and educator Daisaku Ikeda.
“I wanted to speak as a young person, for youth to speak about how they really feel about the realities of life,” Torres says. “They are reaching out, [saying] ‘I need you to believe in me. I need you to teach me how to not give up on my dream.’ These are young people declaring, ‘We are successors looking for direction.’”
The benefits of exposing young people to music, painting or writing transcends art, teaching them discipline and the ability to improvise when faced with a challenge, Torres says. It can also help solve some of the problems created when hormones and sex enter the picture, he says.
“We are creative beings, and we are in constant need of expression. Most critically during our early teenage years. During puberty, when those hormones change, there is a tremendous amount of energy that needs to be channeled,” Torres says. “Art is critical as a vehicle to channel and be able to express that energy.
“Learning how to play an instrument, and then learning how to play and and perform together with others, to listen, these are skills that carry over to other aspects of life,” he says. “Music is life, and life is music.
IF YOU GO
Nestor Torres performs at 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at Jazziz Nightlife, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets: $45-$75. Call 561-300-0730, or visit Jazziz.com.