Celebrated Latin Grammy Award winning percussionist, composer, and arranger, Samuel Torres was born in Bogota, Colombia. He was artistically nurtured in this bustling and culturally sophisticated metropolis where jazz and classical music share the stage with salsa and an infinite variety of Colombian folkloric idioms. Torres’s earliest exposure to music came at home, thanks to an extended family of musicians and access to a wealth of Colombian music genres, from the infectious rhythms of the cumbia and vallenato to styles which reflect a range of African, indigenous and European influences, including the porro, bambuco and pasillo.
A major inspiration for Torres was Edy Martínez, his uncle who had risen to fame in the New York City salsa scene in the early 1970s as a pianist and arranger for acclaimed conga player, Ray Barretto. Torres further cites Barretto as a primary influence and credits exposure to two seminal Barretto albums that featured his uncle, the early Latin jazz classic The Other Road and the salsa powerhouse Indestructible, as a catalyst to spurring his interest in becoming a musician.
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