Willy Torres: A Dream Come True?



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August 22, 2009

Willy Torres

A Dream Come True?

A conversation with John Child

The multitalented Willy Torres has clocked-up an impressive CV during his first 20 years in the Latin music industry. Mr. Torres spoke to John Child about his career as a singer, working with the likes of Larry Harlow, Victor Manuelle and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra; his activity as a producer and recording engineer, including the Grammy-nominated Back on the Streets: A Taste of Spanish Harlem, Vol. 2 (Fania / Universal, 2008); and his solo debut Lo Que Traigo Yo - Willy's NYC Salsa Project (Latin Street Music, 2008).

John Ian Child (JIC): You were born 32 years ago in rural Puerto Rico. Tell me all about your upbringing and early musical experiences?

Willy Torres (WT): I was born on December 31st 1975 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. I was fortunate to come from a musical family. My mother is a singer and my father a Latin percussionist / singer. I started to study the conga drums at the age of four with my father and his friend Ramón Azor and soon began tagging along with my dad to his gigs and sitting in on congas. It was really cool because I guess at that time I was the only five or six year old that would get up on stage with a full band and actually carry a song or two. But after that I would get so tired that I had to sit or even fall asleep in my chair. Soon enough the guys called me "Two Song Drummer Boy". (Laughter)

JIC: I understand your musical education began in Puerto Rico before you relocated to the Bronx with your family in the mid-'80s. Tell me about this?

WT: For a while my mom and dad got their friends to help out, so I found myself taking lessons from great musicians like Ramón Azor, Freddy Kenton, Porfirio Morel and, of course, my grandfather Ramón Torres, who always worried about me learning the correct way to execute my abilities in relation to the instruments I studied and always reminded me of my roots and what type of music to learn first.

JIC: Are you in anyway related to the legendary singer, Willie Torres, who sang with the likes of Joe Cuba Sextet, La Playa Sextet, etc?

WT: Some way down the line in my family I am sure we are, but I need to sit with my grandfather for that one. (Laughter) But a while ago I had a gig with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra at NYC Town Hall where Willie Torres was in the audience. When I met him, right away he said, quote, "Hey familia, we are Torres and that makes us family. Keep doing what we both love to do…sigue la musica." This really made me feel great. While he gave me a big hug, my friend Mitch Frohman commented, "Hey, Will, this is the real Willie Torres." I felt nothing but love.

JIC: In 1989 you made your professional debut as a singer with Orquesta Majestad led by composer Miguel Maldonaldo; then went on to record with the band on Salsa En El Barrio (Salsa International) in 1995. Please tell me the full story about La Majestad and the album?

WT: Wow! Miguel Maldonado, may he rest in peace. When I was a freshmen in high school (9th grade), my youngest uncle Nelson and oldest uncle Juan Ramón (Tío Monchi) decided to make a band named Los Hermanos Torres. This band was a way of keeping me away from bad influences and on a healthy musical path. (Well, they kept me really busy.) My uncle Nelson, who had the finances at that time, said let's have Willy play saxophone, and we will teach him how to direct an orchestra so he can make this his baby. So there we began. But the problem was that my older uncle Monchi was very busy and sometimes could not learn all the songs, so we ran into problems finding a singer that would commit to our humble beginners band. At the time my uncle Nelson was the bass player for a local group that had a bunch of gigs all over New York City: La Majestad led by el Señor Miguel Maldonado. Maldonado composed all his music and even sang some of it in the orchestra.

My uncle commented to Maldonado, "I am having problems finding a singer to share the vocal work with Monchi and we can't start doing gigs like this. Can you help or can I borrow your singer for a few months while I find someone?" Maldonado answered, "Nelson doesn't your nephew sing a bit? Tell him to learn a song or two and see what comes out of it." My uncle said, "I suppose, but he plays sax in the group, does back up and is learning how to write music and experimenting…I think it's a lot for him." Maldonado said, "Try him." So my uncle did. I learned two or three songs, and then he took me to a family member that had a band to get my feet wet with "salsa singing" and that's when it started. Ironically, Maldonado lost his singer for whatever reason and we sat in his mini van on the corner of Lexington and 102 Street en el Barrio and he said, "Willy do you want to take a chance and record a CD with my band?" My uncle said, "He is not prepared." Maldonado answered, "No one is prepared, let's just do it." So in the process of learning the songs, school, the saxophone, writing music and of course going through puberty, I started recording one song at a time. I was able to sing with Larry Harlow in the meantime, also with Johnny Ray "Salsa Con Clase", Orquesta Cundiamor and even recorded back up for Eddie Montalvo's first album On My Own… (Songo Records, 1995). So finally, all I was able to record was four songs and Maldonado found another singer to sing the other four songs. Maldonado gave me the opportunity to explore singing styles, along with my uncle Nelson on my back everyday about getting myself settled as a singer.

JIC: A clichéd question I know, but who are the soneros and singers you most admire and who influenced you?

WT: John, you are getting me in hot water now. (Laughter) No, just kidding. That's a hard question because I love, respect and admire so many people for different things. I will try to answer to the best of my ability. First of all, the guy I would love to grow up to be is Danny Rivera. He is just amazing. Now soneros / singers: Justo Betancourt, Ismael Rivera, Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez, Rafael de Jesús, Hermán Olivera, Ismael Quintana, Adalberto Santiago, Frankie Vázquez, Ray de la Paz, Domingo Quiñones, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuelle and Rey Ruiz. But one sonero / singer I will always remember, respect and love, the great Nestor Sánchez.

JIC: Tell me about some of the other work that being a member of Larry Harlow's Latin Legends led onto at the time?

WT: Well after Larry Harlow's band, doors just opened to the music scene in New York City and Puerto Rico. I was able to work with Johnny Rivera, Victor Manuelle, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Domingo Quiñones, William Ruiz's Latin All Stars, Ray Sepulveda, Conjunto Clásico and Miles Peña…it just led to a lot of work and some people may say that I was one of New York's first calls for gigs and sessions.

JIC: In 1993 you were faced with a big decision that meant returning to Puerto Rico. Tell me all about this?

WT: Well I was in the growing stage of the game. My friend Domingo Ramos, musical director for Frankie Ruiz at the time, was called for a back up singing tour with Victor Manuelle. Domingo had so many gigs that he couldn't do it all, so he recommended me. Neither Victor nor his musical director, Santiago Martínez, had a clue who I was, but they gave me the tour. I did my homework and they really liked it to the extent of offering me a steady gig, which meant relocating to Puerto Rico, so I took the gig.

JIC: Whom did you work with during breaks in Victor Manuelle's schedule?

WT: Well, Victor had a lot, and I mean a lot, of work, but in between I did some recording work. I took some trips to New York for jingles. Wichy Camacho, Elías Lópes, Cheo Feliciano, but mostly I was really busy with Victor.

JIC: Although successfully established in Puerto Rico, why did you decide to return to New York in the winter of 1998?

WT: After parting ways with the Victor Manuelle orchestra, I wanted to start doing bigger things for myself. I wanted to produce, arrange, coach singers, record CDs and open my own recording studio and production company.

JIC: Over the next five years you were busy performing with various Latin artists and bands and sessioning on the New York Latin recording scene. Please fill in some of the detail and highlights for me?

WT: I recorded with producers and artists such as Sergio George, Pablo "Chino" Nuñez, William Ruiz, Ramón Rodríguez, Guillermo Calderón, Julito Alvarado, Osvaldo Pichaco, Omar Alfanno, Luis Cabarcas, Mike Rivera, Edwin Sánchez, Paul Simon, Robby Rosa, to name a few producers, and artists such as Johnny Ray, Ray Sepulveda, DLG, Huey Dunbar, George Lamond, Frankie Negrón, Van Lester, Junior González, Joe King, Luis Damón, Rey Ruiz, Ley Alejandro, Alexandre Pires, Ricardo Montaner, Ricky Martin, Chayanne, Carolina La O, Brenda K. Starr, to name a few.

JIC: Then in 2003, you got your biggest break to date, which assisted in elevating your career to a new, international level. Tell me the story?

WT: Well, at the time, I was producing CDs and doing a lot of coaching and one day the phone rings and it was Oscar Hernández. I had never worked with Oscar before but knew the name. Actually, yes I worked with Oscar, but briefly… We did a club date or two together and he played once or twice for Rey Ruiz and called me to sing backup for Domingo Quiñones and Michael Stuart. So anyway, the phone rings and Oscar says, "Hey Willy, I have a couple of dates if you can sub for Hermán?" I said sure, but then he said: "You have to learn 'Pueblo Latino', 'La Música Es Mi Vida' and share some songs with the other two singers, Ray de la Paz and Frankie Vázquez." That was when my heart started pumping, I started thinking, "Dude this is your chance to kick some butt and sing with some of the best soneros." Man I still love it and my heart still pumps when Oscar calls for a gig. I don't know how to thank him, a gig subbing for Hermán turned into the beginning of my career…awesome!

JIC: You must be counting your blessings that Oscar picked you when there are still veteran soneros out there. I would be interested in your comments about this observation?

WT: I still think about that one. Oscar has given me the opportunity of a lifetime and some people may say, "It's just a gig." But the truth is that this gig is the real thing and I am still counting my blessings and I thank God everyday for the opportunity I get to sing, compose and even have a say-so from time to time. Priceless.

JIC: Tell me about the development of your skills as a recording engineer, producer and arranger and establishment of your Niño's Recording Studios?

WT: Well that is something that keeps growing, I take it one step at a time. I keep studying so I can keep myself up to date…I have grown a lot in the last five years but there is a lot of room for improvement or at least to try to reach the level of mentors like Oscar Hernández, José Madera and Gil López, to name a few.

JIC: Another clichéd question, but who are the arrangers you most admire and who influenced you?

WT: Originally I was influenced - or should I say helped (because I really needed help) - by Guillermo Calderón and later by William Ruiz and Chino Nuñez. Now that I know a little bit, I still love and follow these arrangers, but I also love people like Oscar, José Madera, Gil López, Sonny Bravo, the late Tito Puente, and Angel Fernández.

JIC: While active with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, during 2004 and 2007 you became involved in a number of side projects in various capacities, such as CDs with Son De Madre, Desmar Guevara, Conjunto Colores and La Verdad and instructional DVDs, your own and with Roberto Quintero and Oscar Hernández (see selected discography below). Tell me more about these and any other projects you would like to highlight?

WT: Well, Son De Madre, Desmar Guevara's Taller Sicá, Roberto Quintero's Modern Congas, Oscar's Salsa Piano and my Singing Salsa are projects that I dreamed of and, with the help of someone who I loved very much who is no longer with us (Murri Barber), I went on and did them. These are the type of projects that I love to do. I want to be able to look back 30 years from now and tell my grandkids, "This is what I believed in and God gave me the opportunity to express myself and talent and share it with the world."

JIC: Besides your solo debut album, which we will come onto next, your highest profile project so far as a producer and recording engineer has been the comeback CD by New Swing Sextet, Back On The Streets - A Taste Of Spanish Harlem, Vol. 2 (Fania / Universal, 2008), in collaboration with DJ Henry Knowles. Give me the back-story on this?

WT: These are precisely the type of projects I am talking about. I did Son De Madre and Desmar Guevara on my own and then teamed up with Henry Knowles, who shares my love to produce, create and leave a legacy. I/we plan on doing a lot more projects like The New Swing Sextet. We are actually cooking up some new things or old things with new faces. What I mean is, Henry and I appreciate talent and artistry, and by this I mean we are going to take artists that we love and believe in and produce them, give them a new sound and at the same time show our original music and ideas. Believe me John, there is a lot more to come.

JIC: Co-produced by Henry, you've now taken the plunge as a solo artist with the release of Lo Que Traigo Yo - Willy's NYC Salsa Project (Latin Street Music, 2008), for which you receive credits for musical director, producer, composer, conga, bongo, batá, lead vocal, some arrangements and recording engineer. Phew!! Tell how and when the NYC Salsa Project was born and about the concept behind the band?

WT: OK, a bit over a year ago, Henry asked me to put together three musicians along with myself to play on Monday nights at a place in New York City called Taj on 21st Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. Henry had been promoting Monday nights there for about five or six months and a bunch of local dancers where starting to take the place as a continuation of the Flamingo Monday nights that Henry had previously hosted for several years. New York needed a place for dancers to go after work on Mondays and that's what Henry created. Originally we called the quartet Willy And The Cats. Of course it was not a career move, it was just Robert "Bobby" Allende on timbale kit, my uncle Nelson on bass, Desmar Guevara on piano, I would play congas and sing lead and everyone did back-up singing. After about five months, Henry and I decided to add a musician, so we added a trombone player. Originally it was Willie Alvarez, a friend of mine from the Harlow days and an exceptional musician. But at the time, Alvarez had started his own band and is one of the first calls for trombone in New York City…so it was getting hard to keep him on the gig. So we decided to add Ron Prokopez. Ron is an amazing young trombonist, singer, dancer and composer and was more than willing to have some fun with the Cats.

On one of my trips to the Midwest, I ended up meeting an old friend Andrés Meneses. Meneses is the successful founder of the Latin Street Dance Studios and the independent Latin Street Music Inc. label. I had recorded on one of his artist's CDs a few years prior, and that's where we met and became good friends. I had told a lot of people that I didn't want or was not interested in recording a solo album because I truthfully wasn't interested. But at that particular gig I decided to comment to Andrés that it would be cool to have a recording of a group that can play hip music like Spanish Harlem Orchestra, but with a small combination because it's too hard to travel with so many musicians. Andrés replied, "Well let's do something," and smiled. I took it really seriously and went back to Henry and told him about the conversation. Henry commented, "I know Andrés, he is a good guy." Right away I started to think about what would be cool for dancers to hear and dance to and also be able to perform at art centres and jazz festivals like Spanish Harlem Orchestra had been doing for the last year. Obviously not to compete with Spanish Harlem Orchestra, but I needed a role model to compare quality with, and who better than the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. I decided to add a baritone player and right away called Jorge Castro. I did one gig with the six pieces at Taj to listen to the group, and after the first set Henry ran to me and said: "Dude that is the sound."

I figured a small group with a big sound. Well, I spoke to Desmar and Jorge along with a few friends and we started writing. Some guys wrote lyrics like Carlos Cascante and I, and some guys wrote arrangements to the lyrics like my best friend Mike Rivera in Miami and Efrain Davila in New Jersey. Of course the guys that knew the sound of the group where the guys that actually played like Desmar, Jorge and I, so we wrote a bit riskier. (Laughter) Finally, a couple of months later, Henry said, "Let's hear this monster dude." We played the Joe Cuba hit "A Las Seis" and Henry ran out of the DJ booth and said: "Let's record this." Of course I am such a hyper kid that I have to jump into the water without a life vest, so I called Andrés and he said: "Let's do it right away." I started recording and before anyone changed their mind, I had tracks mixed and mastered by my buddies Jake R. Tanner and Luis Damian Guells. I contacted Andrés and he said, "WOW, I AM IMPRESSED, SO WHAT DO I DO?" I replied: "Put it out!" (Laughter). I gave a copy to Henry one Monday night and the six piece stood in the middle of the dance floor for about 20 seconds while Henry played "Yambeque" and the dancers pushed us out of the way because they could not resist dancing. That was our confirmation…we did something that people want and need. So Henry said this is not Willy and the Cats hanging out and making music, this is Willy's NYC Salsa Project.

JIC: Your publicity blurb describes the NYC Salsa Project as a six piece, which you've augmented with at least nine other guys for the album. Who comprises the core unit?

WT: Ha-ha, no John. We are only six guys and only six guys recorded the actual songs. When we play live the band sounds just like the record, if not better. The additional players on the recording are guests. Let me explain: we recorded the CD completely and then I decided that I wanted to invite some of my friends to participate and do a guest appearance on top of the recorded tracks. For example, on "Rompe Saragüey" I decided to repeat the intro and have Hermán Olivera (one of my teachers / mentors / best friends) sing the song again and then we shared soneos after Pete Nater (also an old friend from the Harlow days) kicked some major butt with his outstanding trumpet solo. The decision was simply to include two of my best friends in the recording (of course they did an amazing job), but we could have done a bari solo or trombone solo or I could have sang it myself as I do in my gigs, but I wanted to have the pleasure of including these two gentlemen that mean the world to me. This personal feeling is more or less the same towards every invited guest that participated, but for sure we are only six cats on the bandstand and in the original base tracks.

JIC: What was the thinking behind the baritone, flute and trombone combination for the sextet?

WT: No one has ever done anything like that and it gives the impression that is an orchestra of 13 musicians, but when people open their eyes they can confirm its only six guys. I also wanted to prove that I could make a weird low octave horn section work.

JIC: Give me an overview of the NYC Salsa Project's repertoire, which if the CD is anything to go by, is a mixture of original compositions and revamped classics such as Joe Cuba Sextet's "A Las Seis", the Héctor Lavoe hit "Rompe Saragüey", Puente's "Yambeque" and El Gran Combo's "La Muerte"?

WT: The Salsa Project pays tribute to a school of heritage represented by Sonora Ponceña, El Gran Combo, the Joe Cuba Sextet and Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón. I just wanted to let the world know that these are some of the artists I admire, respect and love. I wanted the dancers to have some traditional hardcore salsa to groove with and then I needed to express my feelings. There was no science to it…I asked myself, what do you want to sing? And this was my answer.

JIC: You pitch in four of your own compositions, "Baila Con Sabor", and "Lo Que Traigo Yo", both of which you arranged, "Si Te Preguntan" and "Fajardeño Pa' Mi Tierra". Tell me about the history of these numbers?

WT: "Baila Con Sabor" is dedicated to the dancers, remembering the times of the Palladium, Corso and the Fania All Stars when dancers fed off the musicians and the musicians fed off the dancers. Still, I don't disregard the traditional salsa trombone and the Latin jazz licks of the baritone sax accompanied by a hardcore New York aggressive sounding rhythm section and a wailing sonero. On "Lo Que Traigo Yo" I intended to have the aggressive New York salsa / Latin jazz style with a singer expressing his sincere thanks to the art of el soneo and of course give tribute to mi familia Oscar Hernández and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

Desmar Guevara arranged "Si Te Preguntan", a typical song of hurt and painful experience with that special person (I will let you interpret that as you will or want). "El Ultimo Dia De Abril" is the answer to "Si Te Preguntan". Finally, there is a time in a person's life when they have to move on and keep living; this happens to all of us, some sooner than others, but at the end of the road, there is hope and melody. Basically I write what I feel. It doesn't have to fully apply to me ("Si Te Preguntan" for example), but still I sit and look at what is happening around me for whatever reason or other and I write. In the case of "Si Te Preguntan", I was thinking over a true story from the life of a very close friend of mine and that's what came out.

"Fajardeño Pa' Mi Tierra", I asked my cousin Nelson Negrón to arrange a song for me that would take me back to my roots. I walked in the studio one night after a gig and Nel told me, "Dude I wrote the arrangement and recorded all the guitars and cuatros too." I asked how he'd done it as I had not even sat down to write anything, and he said, "Listen to it and you tell me." I listened, he opened up a track and I did what my Puerto Rican people have been doing for centuries: cried and experienced the deep pain of being so far away from my country…I just went into my heart and said what I felt the old fashion way, improvising / troba. Ever since I was a kid, I've always hurt for not being able to live in Puerto Rico - my mother is my witness - and so I just had the chance to express it with the beautiful interpretation of Nel's chords.

JIC: I never cease to be amazed by individuals who can compose songs. How does this creative process work in your case?

WT: Ah man, would you believe that I don't know, I just feel like writing sometimes and it comes out. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I would love to write and I just go blank for months at a time. But when I feel it, I stop what ever I am doing and just write. I have also often caught myself getting inspired by composers like Alejandro Sanz, Omar Alfano, Marco Bermudez, to name a few, but I really cant explain it 90% of the time.

JIC: Tell me about the two remaining tracks, the instrumental "The Fireman", written and arranged by your reeds man Jorge Castro, and "El Ultimo Dia De April" composed by the Costa Rican singer Carlos Cascante and arranged by you?

WT: "The Fireman", I wanted to include an instrumental but did not have the muse to write it. During the Desmar Guevara recording I heard a song composed and arranged by Jorge Castro. At a particular moment in my recording I turned around and said to Jorge, "Dude, write me an instrumental," and a few days latter there it was. Jorge is an exceptional musician and composer, nevertheless an amazing friend. "The Fireman" not only shows the group's versatility and interpretation / improvisation, but also pays tribute to Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría and all those pioneers that always included an instrumental. It features our talent, or artistry, because everyone in the band is an artist in their own right with their own style.

"El Ultimo Dia De April", Carlitos Cascante and I have been friends for a few years now. We met at a LA Salsa Congress / Musicians Seminar where I was teaching Singing Salsa along with Ray de la Paz and Frankie Vázquez. One day he called me because he wanted to record a few songs in my studio as songwriter demos, nothing fancy. He sang five or six songs, I don't remember exactly. But what I do remember is that each one was better than the other and after each song he sang and played with his acoustic guitar; I just kept on getting goose bumps. As soon as I heard "El Ultimo Dia De April", I fell in love with it. So I called him up and asked if he would let me do it, and he answered, "You are my brother and what ever I have is yours, so record it, sing it, do whatever you want with it." The song touched me so much that I sang it in one take, and if you really pay attention, you can actually hear me crying like a baby. And in some parts of the song, my voice did not want to come out. I knew the melody, but I couldn't sing without reading the lyrics. So after recording the first reference voice for this particular session, I told the engineer George Mena, "Let's record it now." George said after some deep thought, "You're not touching that take, this is the final one." I told George "I can sing it better," and he said, "NOT ON YOUR BEST DAY!"

JIC: If you were to pick just one track from Lo Que Traigo Yo that best represents the NYC Salsa Project, which one would it be and why?

WT: "Baila Con Sabor", it's the style that we have grown to execute and love.

JIC: Is there anything further that you would like to say about Lo Que Traigo Yo before we move on?

WT: This CD was made with lots of love and hard work…we are very proud of it. We know there are better CDs or worse, but we are not competing with anyone, we are just having fun while making and expressing our music. This I say on behalf of all the band members.

JIC: It is encouraging that a young man like you has chosen to keep the tradition of salsa dura alive when so many young Latinos have turned to reggaetón, salsa monga, bachata and the like. How do you explain this?

WT: I think all styles of music have their own rightful place. I highly respect all music even if I don't understand it or if I don't ever play it. With regards to salsa dura, salsa dura has never died, it just got taken to a higher level and I want to play music that can satisfy every bone in my body and every inch of my soul.

JIC: What's your attitude towards the younger generation of Latinos potentially losing touch with their musical roots via their absorption in forms like reggaetón, rap and so forth?

WT: Everyone has the right to choose their path and for sure their music. The only thing I say is, "You don't have to like it, but at least know it and respect it."

JIC: You must be proud of your involvement in Paul Simon's Capeman Music performed at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in April 2008. Tell me about this?

WT: Again Oscar Hernández gives me the opportunity to be all I can be. The Music of Capeman has been one of the best experiences of my life. The cast, the music, the love, Paul…you had to be there. The energy was magical, the music grand and the fulfilment unexplainable.

JIC: My usual closing questions: Would you like to tell me what else you have been working on recently and what you have in the pipeline?

WT: (Laughter) I was waiting for that one. I have a lot of goals for the future. If God gives me the opportunity, I will release at least another CD with the NYC Salsa Project late next year (2009) and hopefully I will be involved in at least three other productions that I cannot mention right now because they are in the works, but rest assured, they are really looking to be great.

JIC: Is there anything else that you would like to add that we have not talked about?

WT: Yeah, I want to thank you and everyone from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do. I am not perfect, nor I pretend to be, but one thing I can say is that everything that I do and every note that I sing is intended to make everyone happy and fill everyone's heart with love and joy.

JIC: What title would you choose for this interview?

WT: A Dream Come True? I don't know, but I will confess I am living my dream.

Selected albums and DVDs on which Willy Torres has performed

Orquesta Majestad
Salsa En El Barrio
(Salsa International 747), 1995
Willy Torres, lead vocals

Eddie Montalvo
On My Own…
(Songo Records, 1995; reissued in 2004 as Eddie Montalvo
on Changüi)
Willy Torres, coro

Conjunto Imagen
Contra La Fuerza
(Platano 5146), 2002
Willy Torres, maracas and güiro

La Diferencia
(LFFR 72463), 2002
Willy Torres, instructor vocal

Ahora Vengo Yo!!!
(Sabrosura Records SR31752), 2003
Willy Torres, coro

Miles Antonio Peña
Que Seas Muy Feliz
(Parcha 2041), 2003
Willy Torres, coro

Charlie Cruz
Ven A Mi
(Wea Caribe 60241), 2003
Willy Torres, coro

Van Lester
Estaba Para Mi...
(Destiny Sound 001), 2004
Willy Torres, coro

Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra
Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra
(Latin Street Music AM01), 2004
Willy Torres, güiro, shekere, maracas and coro

Roberto Quintero
Timbas Modernas / Modern Congas
- DVD (Hal Leonard HL00320362), 2004
Hosted by Willy Torres

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Across 110th Street
(Libertad 00029RSY0), 2004
Willy Torres, vocals

Andy & Lucas
En Su Salsa
(BMG 63197), 2004
Willy Torres, coro

Wilson "Chembo" Corniel
Portrait In Rhythms
(Chemboró Records 1001), 2004
Willy Torres, güiro

Willy Torres
Singing Salsa / Cantando Salsa, Techniques, Traditions and Applications
- DVD (Hal Leonard HL00320363), 2004
Presenter Willy Torres

Orquesta Del Barrio
El Amanecer
(Salsahora 001), 2004
Willy Torres, coro, minor percussion, vocal coach and engineer

Jimmy Bosch
El Avión De La Salsa
(JRGR Records JRGR 12), 2004
Willy Torres, lead vocals and coro,

Elliot Maysonet & The Salsa All Stars
Mi Puerto Rico
(Sabrosura Records 23100), 2005
Willy Torres, coro

Pablo "Chino" Nuñez
It's SHO Time: Strictly Hardcore On 1 Or 2 - Tribute To The Dancers
(Cookita Records 002), 2005
Willy Torres, vocals

Conjunto Colores
Con Colores Se Goza
(Colores 75306), 2005
Willy Torres, coro; part recorded at Niño's Recording Studios

Son De Madre
(SDM Productions 001), 2006
Willy Torres, additional production and arrangements, one composition, engineer, conga, bongo, timbales, percussion, piano, vocals, coro,

Son Café With Ralph Irizarry
(BKS Records 18903), 2006
Willy Torres, minor percussion

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Rhythm and Roots Festival 2006
(FestivalLink FEST0087), 2006
Willy Torres, vocals

Manny Kassú
Un Sonero De Talla
(Faraon Records 33492), 2007
Willy Torres, coro

La Verdad
From A Different Perspective
(Infamous 74072), 2007
percussion recorded at Willy Torres' Niño's Recording Studios

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra
United We Swing
(Six Degrees 1134), 2007
Wille Torres, vocals, maracas and güiro

The Latin Giants Of Jazz
Trip To Mamboland
(Gigante Records 2007), 2007
Willy Torres, coro

Necesito Alguien - Pura Salsa
(Fabian / Musicameasy 7610), 2007
Willy Torres, coro

Oscar Hernández
Salsa Piano Featuring Oscar Hernández
- DVD (Hal Leonard HL00320505), 2007
Willy Torres, vocals and percussion, co-producer

Alex Bueno
El Salsero Del Momento
(Manhattan Music Group 92452), 2008
Willy Torres, coro

Grupo Decision
Pa' Que Gozen
(NT Productions 15362), 2008
Willy Torres, vocals, timbales, congas and minor percussion, co-producer

Marvin Diz
Habla El Tambor
(Oshosi Swing 0024), 2008
Willy Torres, güiro and recording engineer

New Swing Sextet
Back On The Streets - A Taste Of Spanish Harlem, Vol. 2
(Fania / Universal 130 400), 2008
Willy Torres, co-producer, recording engineer and hand percussion

Willy Torres
Lo Que Traigo Yo - Willy's NYC Salsa Project
(Latin Street Music LSM-WT01), 2008
Willy Torres, musical director, producer, composer, conga, Bongo, batá, lead vocal and arrangements

3d Ritmo De Vida
Que Siga La Rumba
(Gotham Music 5822), 2008
Willy Torres, lead vocals, coro, vocal arrangements

Clave Sonera
Rumba Para Viena
(Walboomers 049), 2009
Willy Torres, lead vocals

© Descarga.com and John Child. John Child produces and selects the contents of the totallyradio show Aracataca. He is an editor and journalist for the Descarga.com Latin music website, and a contributor to the MusicWeb Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Penguin and Guinness Encyclopedias of Popular Music, and has prepared compilations for the Union Square and Nascente labels.

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