Originally created and produced by Grammy winning vocalists Willy Torres of the world renowned "Spanish Harlem Orchestra" and one of the worlds best DJ's Henry Knowles, Willy's NYC Salsa Project was born on September 2007.
The concept is very simple, a six piece band with the sound and elegant sophistication of a big orchestra. A very unique sound when it pertains to Salsa, Latin Jazz, Traditional Fajardeños and Tropical Pop.
The band is led by Willy Torres wich applies his duties as: Percussionist, Vocalist, Composer, Arranger and Musical Director. Along with Torres the other side of the percussion and vocals are complimented by his mentor and one of the best musicians Robert "Bobby" Allende. On Bass The NYC Salsa Project is proud to present Nelson Torres (Compose/Arranger) and master of his own style and interpretation when it pertains to Latin Music. The Piano accompaniment is led by Arranger/Composer/Piano Virtuoso Desmar Guevara who also arranges for the band. On Baritone Sax/Flute and Tenor Sax they have the great styles of Jorge Castro, an amazing Jazz/Latin Jazz musician Arranger/Composer. Castro has also composed and Arranged a Latin Jazz Instrumental in the bands first CD recording. Last but not least on Trombone and Vocal, Willy's NYC Salsa Project is proud to present Ron Prokopez. A New Yorker with Latin American roots who with his unique styles bring out the fire on every Moña and the elegance of a real Trombone sound. Although Prokopez is very young he has an ability to express a virtuoso sound and interpretation of this music.
All these amazing musicians make the magic to Willy's NYC Salsa Project and I assure you, its a sound you will never forget. Look out for this six piece ensemble, their intention is to play music that only others can dream of.
About Willy Torres...
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.