Willy Torres | International | Chicago Reader

Willy Torres All Ages Free Soundboard

When: Sun., Aug. 21, 5 p.m. 2011

With his fine second album, Hardcore (Latin Street Music), Puerto Rican-born, New York-based singer and conguero Willy Torres solidifies his reputation as a staunch proponent of salsa dura, or "hard" salsa. His NYC Salsa Project is a lean, versatile, hard-­hitting sextet with a repertoire dominated by tunes from Torres. He spent years as a backup singer for the likes of Victor Manuelle, Willie Colon, Yomo Toro, and Gilberto Santa Rosa, and got his big break when he was promoted to a permanent member of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Torres pretty much sticks with that group's old-school New York salsa sound (despite his own band's relatively compact size), and his mediocre stab at funk on "NY Flavor" suggests he shouldn't try to cross over. Torres will be supported by the powerhouse Chicago group Angel Melendez & 911 Mambo Orchestra (Melendez plays trombone on Hardcore). This album-release event is part of Summerdance; Lisa "La Boriqua" will give dance lessons (merengue, bachata, and salsa) beginning at 4 PM. —Peter Margasak

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