Jazz flutist Nestor Torres was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where he was inspired by people like Cal Tjader, Dave Brubeck, and Tito Puente. He began studying flute at age 12. Torres' father, a talented musician, bought him a drum set when he was five. His playing incorporates a smorgasbord of Latin jazz, pop, straight-ahead jazz, and classical styles. After high school, he moved to New York with dreams of finding work with a profusion of Latin jazz bands. After realizing his skills as a flutist needed more honing, he enrolled in Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory or Music. He also studied with John Wummers at the Mannes School of Music. In 1977, he graduated and returned to New York City, heady with his new diploma. He sat in with his mentors like Puente and Eddie Palmieri but also worked with a variety of lesser-known charanga (traditional Cuban) groups. In New York, Torres recorded three solo albums that were praised in the underground but not commercially successful.