Standing on the shoulders of flute giants from worlds as diverse as Rampal & Galway in Classical Music; Richard Egues' Cuban Charanga style; rocker Ian Anderson's Jethro Tull; Herbie Mann and - most influential of all - Hubert Laws as pioneers of Jazz Flute, Latin Grammy Award winning Nestor Torres' rhythmic and mellifluous flute sound remains apart in a class all by itself. His 14 recordings as a soloist; 4 Latin Grammy nominations, one Grammy nomination and one Latin Grammy Award; collaborations with diverse artists such as Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins, Dave Mathews, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Michael Camilo, Paquito D' Rivera and Arturo Sandoval; as well as performances with the Cleveland, Singapore, and New World Symphony Orchestras among many others, are testament to the remarkable journey of an Artist who continues to grow and enrich the lives of those who experience his talents.

Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Nestor Torres moved to New York City, where he pursued Classical flute studies at Mannes School of Music, Jazz at Berklee College of Music and Classical and Jazz at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. During that time he also learned to improvise in the 'Charanga' Cuban Dance Music style, which helped shape and develop Nestor's melodic and danceable sound.

His CD This Side Of Paradise won the Latin Grammy award in the Pop instrumental category, scheduled to be presented on September 11, 2001. This great achievement - and its timing - proved to be a major turning point for Torres.

"Of course it was a great honor and privilege to win the Grammy. That being said, the fact that I was to receive it on 9/11 gave my work and my music a stronger sense of mission and purpose."

Since then, Torres has focused on transcending his role as a Jazz Flautist to that of an agent of change through crossover multi-media productions, compositions and performances. To that effect, his compositions 'Successors', Marta y Maria and Disarmament Suite (commissioned by the Miami Children's Chorus, St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series, and ICAP - International Committee of Artists for Peace - respectively), are variations on Nestor Torres' multi-cultural fusion sounds as expressions of today's world. Then again, Nestor's music has always been about that: a Crossover fusion of Latin, Classical, Jazz and Pop sounds. Rich and engaging, complex and exuberant, profound yet accessible.

In addition to his achievements in the studio and on the stage, Torres is also the recipient of many awards, including two honorary doctorate degrees from Barry University and Carlos Albizu University, for his commitment to youth, education and cultural exchanges.

Pablo Batista Latin Jazz Ensemble

Master percussionist Pablo Batista has performed, recorded and toured internationally for nearly 30 years with some of the biggest stars in rhythm and blues, jazz, Latin, pop, and gospel. These have included artists as diverse as Alicia Keys, Patti Labelle, Kirk Franklin, Jill Scott, Gerald Levert, Jeffrey Osborne, Phyllis Hyman, Teddy Pendergrass, Diane Reeves, Norman Brown, Manny Oquendo and Libre, Eddie Palmieri, and Musiq.

In 1981, Pablo’s student demo of folkloric percussion music recorded at Temple University brought him to the attention of Grover Washington, Jr. At the time, Washington was serving as producer for R & B star Jean Carne and he invited Pablo into the studio as a professional for the first time. That record became a huge hit and Pablo went on to record and tour with Washington periodically from 1985. From 1991 on, he served as his rock-solid percussion “road dog” right up to Grover’s untimely passing in 1999.

A drummer of amazingly diverse talents, Pablo B. is highly regarded for his professionalism, tireless work ethic, and ability to listen and integrate his playing into almost any style at the highest level of musicianship. During the heyday of “the Philly sound,” Pablo was frequently called in to play on Philly International Records studio sessions with some of the label’s most accomplished producers. Hired by legendary R & B producer Nick Martinelli, Pablo performed on Regina Bell’s debut album “All By Myself” which included the smash hit “Show Me the Way.” In the late 1980s, an audition for Jeffrey Osborne won him the percussion chair over a pool of 20 L.A. studio percussionists and he toured with Osborne from 1988-1991.

Raised in close-knit, education-oriented family from Puerto Rico, Pablo Batista grew up in Bethlehem Pennsylvania where he began studying Latin percussion at the age of 9 years. Starting with hand drums under the tutoring of master percussionist Miguel Candia, he went on to absorb popular Afro-Caribbean music styles and developed a special interest in salsa. Following graduation from Bethlehem Catholic High School in 1981, he attended Temple University where he earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 1985.

In 1985 Pablo became a Latin Percussion/LP endorser and clinician. That same year he began teaching Afro-Caribbean percussion privately and also with youth at Philadelphia’s Latin American Musicians Association (AMLA). During 2000, he began a more serious and protracted study of Afro-Cuban drumming and culture. In 1991, while teaching at AMLA between tours, Pablo received his first grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. This enabled him to do folkloric research in Cuba under sponsorship of the Philadelphia Folklore Project. He went on to receive this award four times and continued travel to Cuba to study under the masters Pello “el Afrokan,” Roberto Vizcaino, Miguel “Anga” Diaz and others. In 2000, Pablo was the recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in Folk Arts. This enabled him to deepen his knowledge of the Afro-Cuban tradition at the source.

Artistically restless and never one to sit still for long, Pablo Batista continues to study, practice, record, tour, and teach. In 2010, after several previous tours and Grammy-winning, multi-platinum recordings with soul mega-star Alicia Keys, he was back on the road with her “Elements of Freedom Tour.” This culminated in a performance at the World Cup ceremonies in South Africa before an estimated combined live and broadcast audience of over one billion people. At mid-year, Pablo appeared as a guest with the Philadelphia Orchestra Percussion Group under the leadership of Don Liuzzi. He also found time for community performances at
local venues like the Robin Hood Dell East and West Philadelphia's Cedar Park Jazz Series. In addition to dates with the Ojays and Patti LaBelle, he taught disadvantaged students
in North Philadelphia and conservatory students at Curtis Institute of Music.

During 2011, Pablo Batista began working on a new, innovative series of compositions and arrangements that seek to integrate African Yoruba elements into the more accessible musical styles with which he is so familiar and so proficient. In 2013, Pablo received a second Pew Charitable Trust Grant to further his study of traditional folkloric music. He was also invited to perform, as a solo percussionist, at the renowned Caribbean Music Festival. While in Cuba for the music festival, he undertook daily studies in Afro-Cuban rhythms with The Ballet Folklórico Cutumba, one of Cuba’s most vibrant folkloric dance companies. Pablo hopes to make the traditional music more widely accessible to new audiences of varied ethnic backgrounds and musical tastes, and to show how deeply the “Latin tinge” continues to inform and animate American popular music.

Mr. Batista’s devotion to the traditional Latin forms is currently on display via his magnificent ensemble, Pablo Batista and the Mambo Syndicate. The band offers the best salsa dura and dance music in the tri-state area. They perform a range of Latin rhythms and styles reminiscent of the Sunday dance concerts at New York's legendary Palladium during the Golden Age of Latin Music. Songs by Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, Hector Lavoe, and Ray Barretto are featured in the Pablo Batista and the Mambo Syndicate’s repertoire. In addition to Batista's dazzling conga skills, the band consists of an exceptionally talented, dynamic, and well-schooled line-up of supporting players on piano, bass, horns, percussion, and vocals.



SOUTH celebrates Cinco de Mayo for three spell-binding days with Pablo Batista’s Latin Jazz Ensemble. Batista and his phenomenal band will be joined by Grammy winner, flautist Nestor Torres on May 3, 4 and 5. The event combines two dynamic and versatile musicians who have collaborated with some of the biggest names in music: Nestor Torres with Gloria Estefan, Dave Mathews, Herbie Hancock and Tito Puente; Pablo Batista with Eddie Palmieri, Dianne Reeves, Grover Washington, Jr. and Alicia Keys The event is the second installment of Pablo Batista’s Latin Jazz Series under the Unscripted Jazz Series banner. This Cinco de Mayo at SOUTH will be a celebration to remember - don’t miss it! Showtimes 7pm and 9pm - Tickets at

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