The Samuel Torres Super Band is headed to Aaron Davis Hall for a special concert entitled “Alegría, Urban Latin Jazz Portrait” on Friday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. Led by acclaimed Colombian percussionist-arranger-composer Samuel Torres, the all-star group is composed of Will Vinson (alto saxophone), Joel Frahm (tenor and soprano saxophone), Ivan Renta (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet and flute), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Alex Norris (trumpet), Marshall Gilkes (trombone), Luis Perdomo (piano), Rubén Rodríguez (bass) and Pablo Bencid (drums).
Presented by City College Center for the Arts, the concert will premiere new works composed by Torres for his upcoming album Alegría (or Happiness in English) which merges classic American jazz with the sound of contemporary Latin urban sounds and styles such as cumbia, boogaloo and Afro-Cuban jazz. The album and concert are a part of a grant by Chamber Music America 2017 New Jazz Works Commissioning program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Torres, who won the grant in 2012 and 2017, has the distinction of being the first hand percussionist to receive the honor.
A celebrated percussionist, composer and arranger, Torres, a native of Colombia, has worked with music giants including Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Chick Corea, Candido Camero, Angélique Kidjo, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Shakira, and Alejandro Sanz, among others. Torres’ most recent album, Forced Displacement (2015), was influenced by the violence and unrest affecting his homeland. Now with Alegría — “happiness” in English — Torres again pays homage to the people of Colombia and other Latin American nations, this time with a nod to their resilient spirit and ability to find joy in even the darkest times. Inspired by the vibrant urban and Latin dance music scenes of Bogotá and beyond, Torres created Alegría with an aim to merge classic jazz traditions with a more contemporary Latin urban sound as well as popular music styles such as boogaloo, cumbia and Afro-Cuban jazz. As the name promises, Alegría will provide listeners with songs that inspire them to dance and find joy in the music.
Funding for Alegría and the “Alegría, Urban Latin Jazz Portrait” concert was made possible by support from Chamber Music America 2017 New Jazz Works Commissioning program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. A two-time recipient of the prestigious award (in 2012 and 2017), Torres has the distinction of being the first hand percussionist to receive the grant, which also includes the Boston premiere of the work in concert at Scullers Jazz Club on May 24 and the upcoming Alegría album slated to be recorded later this spring.
“I’ve always been interested in the amazing music that has come out of New York City, especially the city’s history of welcoming Latin artists and giving them a base to push through new innovations in Latin music like salsa and Latin jazz,” said Torres. “This is one of the reasons I am so happy to bring these new songs to the people of Harlem.”
“It’s going to be a fun night. We are always excited when Aaron Davis Hall can host artists who reflect the cultures of our communities in Harlem,” added City College Center for the Arts Managing Director Gregory Shanck. “With an artist of Samuel’s caliber, our audience is sure to get an evening of music they won’t forget.”
Tickets for “Alegría, Urban Latin Jazz Portrait” are on sale now for $30 general admission and $20 for students and seniors with ID. Tickets can be purchased online at www.citycollegecenterforthearts.org or in person at the Aaron Davis Hall box office Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. For more details, visit the CCCA site or call the Aaron Davis Hall box office at (212) 650-6900. City College Center for the Arts can be followed on Twitter at @ccnyarts.
Aaron Davis Hall is located on the campus of the City College of New York, at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue (129 Convent Avenue).
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Samuel Torres is a lauded percussionist, composer and arranger as well as one of today’s most versatile Latin jazz artists. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Torres was exposed to music at an early age thanks in part to an extended family of musicians which included his uncle Edy Martínez, a pianist-arranger who earned fame in the New York salsa scene of the 1970s. A classically trained percussionist with a degree in music composition, Torres established himself as a musical force in his homeland at a young age. His career took flight when acclaimed Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval asked him to join his group shortly after Torres moved to the U.S. Since then, the percussionist has earned renown in his own right through his work as a performer, arranger and producer in the worlds of Latin jazz, salsa, Latin pop and jazz, working with artists including Lila Downs, Paquito D’Rivera and Rubén Blades in addition to releasing albums of his own work, such as Skin Tones (2006), Yaoundé (2010) and Forced Displacement (2015). He resides in New York City. More information on the artist and his music can be found at www.samueltorres.com.
ABOUT THE CITY COLLEGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The City College Center for the Arts hosts an ambitious, year-round calendar of student and professional performances. The mission of the City College Center for the Arts is to provide a creative arts center and focal point for the City College of New York, building a sense of community within the College, elevating the profile of Aaron Davis Hall in the greater New York area, and connecting the College to the surrounding community through the arts.