Latin Grammy winner Nestor Torres picked several of his favorite songs to cover for his seventh CD, Mi Alma Latina (My Latin Soul) including "Smooth," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," "Hero" and "Europa." The flutist returns to his roots on his eighth CD, Sin Palabras (Without Words), performing all-original compositions except two.
Contrary to the CD's title, there are several song phrases thrown around, and "Labios Dulzes"-a spicy R&B and Latin stew-has quite a few vocal flavors, thanks to Torres, bassist Jimmy Haslip (who coproduced the CD along with Torres, Carlo Pennisi and James Lloyd) and keyboardist Baby Boy. The two covers are good ones: "Contigo Aprendi" is a Latin classic penned by Armando Manzanero, who's written many romantic ballads. While it veers toward Muzak, it's undeniably romantic; "Regalame la Silla Donde te Espere" was a hit for Alejandro Sanz. Although both of these choices are a touch sleepy (after all, it is flute music), Torres kicks it up just a tad elsewhere on the CD on his originals.
For the most part, however, it's a shame Torres didn't compose more songs like the title cut, which manages to be upbeat, radio-friendly and artistically expressive.