In December 2016 Sammy Figueroa and producers Ray and Vivian Chew ventured to Havana to explore the possibility of a new album, The Journey of the Drum, featuring a collaboration between Sammy and Cuban musicians and composers. Concurrent with the trip, Sammy played the Havana Plaza Jazz Festival with the fantastic Cuban jazz flautist Orlando "Maraca" Valle at the legendary jazz club El Zorro Y El Cuevo. Sammy and the Chews met with Cuban musicologist and music producer Caridad Diaz where the idea of basing the album's compositions on the four main quadrants of Cuban musical culture: Matanzas, Central Cuba, Pinar Del Rio and Havana. The album will be a video production featuring the sights and sounds of Cuba as Sammy collaborates with Cuba's authentic musicians. More news on this soon.
Presenters and Producers take note: Sammy Figueroa and his band, generally considered one of the world's premier Latin Jazz band, will be performing at Richard Bona's lovely Club Bonafide, one show only 11 PM, Sunday January 8th.
Sammy brings his original band to Richard Bona's intimate club in NYC. This music-loving venue is unequaled for great sound, comfort and good wine by the glass. Sammy will be playing the music of his latest album "Imaginary World" featuring the compositions and fantastic musicianship of Venezuelan virtuosos pianist Silvano Monasterios and bassist Gabriel Vivas.
Sammy Figueroa, percussion
Silvano Monasterios, piano
Gabriel Vivas, bass
Troy Roberts, sax
Dennis Hernandez, trumpet
Ludwig Afonso, drums
212 East 52nd St.
New York NY 10022
Sammy will be returning to Havana Cuba this December for this first time since he taught at the Percuba Conference in 2007. He will be attending the Jazz Festival with the co-producers of his next album, Rachel Faro and Ray Chew and is looking forward to collaborating and jamming with Cuba's best players, young and old.
On Saturday September 24th Sammy hosted a musical tribute to the legendary Cafe Pompeii, a glittering nightclub at the Eden Roc Hotel, that featured artists such as Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte. This performance was part of a ,a gala fundraiser at the Eden Roc in Miami Beach for the benefit of Arts For Learning, the Miami affiliate of Young Audiences, a non-profit organization dedication to childhood development and learning through the arts. legendary Cafe Pompeii, a glittering nightclub at the Eden Roc Hotel, that featured artists such as Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte. Sammy was joined by the glamorous Nicole Henry, who performed the repertoire of Lena Horne, the very soulful Big Brooklyn Red who paid tribute to Frank Sinatra and Lenard Rutledge, who opened his part of the show with two Nat King Cole tunes and closed the evening with Harry Belafonte's Jump In The Line. The band was the illustrious Chuck Bergeron on bass, Mike Orta on piano, Michael Piolet on drums, John Michalak on sax and Jonathan Segal on trumpet.
Five musicians who have played with Sonny Rollins over the years have decided to form a band in tribute to Sonny and his music. Named 'Patanjali' in honor of one of Sonny's favorite tunes and one of his favorite Indian masters, members of the band include Sammy, Mark Soskind on piano, Joe Corsello on drums and Troy Roberts on sax.
When Sammy recorded woodblocks and congas on the Nile Rogers production of David Bowie's 'Last Dance' he never imagined the span of years and distance this classic recording would last. Since Bowie's passing, he's been on Sammy's mind, so he is glad to have the opportunity to share that sound again for a good cause.
On Saturday April 14th Sammy will join his fellow musicians in a fund-raiser for the Jazz Foundation of America, an organization that provides emergency and medical funding for musicians. The event will take place in at Hudson Studios on West 29th St.
Sammy will join drummer/percussionist Kahil El'Zabar and his band in a tribute to David Bowie, playing the same parts he played on 'Let's Dance'. Other band members include Craig Harris on trombone, Kelvyn Bell on piano and Jamaladeen Tacuma on bass.
Other performers on this magical evening include The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Cookers, Sweet Georgia Brown, Marc Ribot and many others.
Sammy has long been a friend of the Jazz Foundation and its founder, Wendy Oxenhorn. He's glad to have this opportunity to give back to his amazing organization.
Sammy invites everyone to an evening of music, dance, drinks and food with 'Sally's Tomato', Sammy's tribute to the cool Latin jazz of Cal Tjader at the Miami Light Black Box Theatre on April 14th at 7 PM. The event is part of the Young Audiences National Conference but a limited number of VIP tickets will be available to benefit the conference's host, Arts For Learning. A4L is a non-profit dedicated to engaging the hearts and minds of kids in arts programs throughout the city. Sammy is on the board of A4L and its work is very close to his heart.
Sammy Figueroa's latest album, 'Imaginary World', has caught the attention of jazz radio hosts and programmers nationwide. Based on radio airplay from over 200 radio hosts throughout the USA, the Jazz Week chart has reflected how much radio loves Sammy!
We've just finished recording our latest album but we're still reaching out for support to mix and master. Through Pledgemusic you can pre-order the album and receive all kinds of enticing extras while joining our team and supporting great music.
Sammy Figueroa is now a board member of the prestigious non-profit organization dedicated to teaching children in underserved communities through the arts. Sammy, who has always had a special affinity for children, has a lot to offer both as an artist and as an example through his own story. He will be working with A4L both as an advisor and as an instructor, bringing his knowledge directly to classrooms in South Florida neighborhoods such as Liberty City, Hialeah, Allahpattah and Overtown.
Sammy is thrilled to announce that his old friend Ray Chew will be joining producer Rachel Faro as part of the production team of his upcoming album on Savant Records. Ray knows Sammy since the days they toured together with Ashford and Simpson. Since then Ray has gone on to be musical director for American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, the BET Awards, the Miss Universe pageant and most recently the Grammy Premiere Ceremony 2015. The band will be recording the first week of March 2015, with Ray and Rachel onboard.
On November 18th 2014 Sammy Figueroa performed a very special and intimate showcase at 2nd Annual Producer and Engineers Wing Latin Grammy® Week Celebration at the Palms Studio with Latin Grammy nominee Aymee Nuviola. Aymee, who also recently received a Grammy Nomination for best Tropical Artist, performed a traditional Cuban tune, El Manisero, with no other accompaniment than Sammy's creative congas. This magical moment was enthusiastically received by attendees, which included reknowned record producers Gustavo Santolallao and Benny Falconne and Latin Recording Academy president Gabriel Abaroa, Jr.
In early 2014 Sammy Figueroa and producer Rachel Faro journeyed to Sao Paolo to produce a landmark album with Brazilian singer Glaucia Nasser. Savant Records will be releasing this landmark recording on September 23rd 2014. With the support of musicians such as Chico Pinheiro and Bianca Gismonti, The concept of Latin percussion joining with Brazilian song has been realized in a very beautiful way.
Saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins has released Road Shows Vol. 3 on his own imprint, Doxy Records (Sony/Decca) and Sammy is all over it! Co-produced by Richard Corsello, the album presents exquisitely recorded and mixed live performances with Sonny and his band at several important festivals. Other musicians include Bob Cranshaw on bass, Kobie Watkins on drums and Russell Malone on guitar.
Sammy recently completed an 8 week run as the headline act on Norwegian Getaway's GRAMMY® Experience at Sea, as part of an historic agreement between The Recording Academy and Norwegian Cruise Line. He succeeded Latin jazz flautist Nestor Torres after the ship's inaugural cruise and was the first long-term artist in residence on Norwegian's most spectacular ship. As a resident of Miami Beach he has long been accustomed to watching the cruise ships sail out to sea from his balcony. "It was interesting to actually be on one of those ships I've seen from my balcony in South Beach sailing out to sea. I had a great time, most of all just to be on the ocean for all those days."
Jorge Ben Jor, the legendary Brazilian artist, best known for his song "Mas Que Nada" is also beloved by many for his rockin' samba/funk shows, has once again invited Sammy Figueroa to join him as a featured artist on a long-awaited U.S. tour. Sammy, who has already played several tours with Jorge Ben in the past, will be joining him in Miami, New York and San Francisco.
A documentary on the life of Sonny Rollins, centered around his 80th birthday concert at The Beacon Theatre in New York City, directed by Dick Fontaine and co-produced by the BBC, premiered on October 2nd at the Woodstock Film Festival. The film especially features interviews and performances by Sammy Figueroa, along with performances by Ornette Coleman, Jim Hall, Bob Cranshaw and others.
Sammy Figueroa and his band, The Latin Jazz Explosion, are traveling to Sao Paolo, Brazil to engage in an unprecedented collaboration with Brazilian artists Chico Pinheiro and Glaucia Carvalho. They will be appearing at the Bourbon St. Club in Sao Paolo in March 13th. In addition, Sammy will be giving a master class, sponsored by Pearl Percussion, at the Souza Lima Music School on March 11th, along with his drummer Nomar Negroni, also a Pearl artist.
An original member of the Brecker Brothers, Sammy was been invited to make a last minute appearance at New York's Blue Note with the Brecker Brothers Reunion Band. The following week, Sammy was in San Francisco with Sonny Rollins and was able to join them again onstage. It was a thrill to be joining old friends Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Will Lee, Rodney Holmes and Ada Rovatti for these evenings of great jazz.
BBC has recently completed a wonderful documentary on the life of Sonny Rollins. Sammy is interviewed throughout the film. Well worth watching! Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUKWS4vYD8A
Time flies! Double Grammy Nominees Sammy Figueroa & His Latin Jazz Explosion will celebrate their 10th anniversary during the month of September 2012. Formed when Sammy moved to South Florida, the group made their debut at the Hollywood Jazz Festival with special guests Dave Valentin and Ray Vega. Although the personnel have changed the group's sound has remained remarkably consistent, invariably presenting effortlessly executed virtuosity that leaves their audiences breathless.
The group will be appearing on Monday,September 10th at New York's Blue Club, giving city audiences the opportunity to experience this extraordinary band. They will then move over to the Jazz Gallery at Miami's WDNA-FM, where Sammy has his own beloved show, in a concert displaying the photos of Sammy's documentarian Robert Rodriguez on Saturday September 15th. The celebration will culminate at Delray Beach's Arts Garage, a very special venue who patrons have already taken Sammy into their hearts.
It seemed as if everyone in the Latin jazz world was there. Sammy Figueroa is a childhood friend of the great Latin jazz flautist Dave Valentin and spend many years playing in his band recording and touring. Recently Dave had a stroke and won't be able to play for awhile. The Jazz Foundation of America and many others organized a benefit in his honor at the old Village Gate, now called Poisson Rouge. Sammy joined drummer Robbie Ameen, bassist Ruben Rodriguez and pianist Bill O'Connell with special guest sax player Steve Slagle and percussionist/trumpet player Jerry Gonzales after remarkable sets by Grupo Libre and Papo Vasquez. There was so much love and music in the room that Dave said that he was beginning to heal already.
Every year the Jazz Journalists Association honors excellence in jazz music, recordings, presentation and journalism in a star-studded ceremony. Sammy is honored to be considered one of five finalists for Best Percussionist. The final Awards will be presented at the JJA Jazz Awards Gala at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City on June 20, 2012.
It's been a great honor for Sammy Figueroa to share music with Sonny Rollins over the last few years. The recent Kennedy Center Honors, which occurred on December 4th, featured Sonny, Yo-Yo Ma, Meryl Streep, Barbara Cook and Neil Sedaka. Bill Cosby put together a great tribute to Sonny and his life and music. There's a great shot of Sammy and Sonny jamming together that made it in to CBS's December 27th broadcast. As Sonny said, this tribute to him was a tribute to jazz, the American art form. TO SEE BILL COSBY'S KENNEDY CENTER HONORS TRIBUTE TO SONNY ROLLINS PLEASE CLICK HERE
This year's announcement of the Grammy Nominations were bittersweet for Sammy and his team. Both previous albums by Sammy Figueroa & his Latin Jazz Explosion were nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album. But since this category was eliminated this year, the band's third album, Urban Nature, could only be submitted in the Jazz category, along with hundreds of other submissions and unfortunately got lost in the shuffle. Nevertheless, Sammy is proud to have participated as a featured artist in the magnificent concert CD/DVD An Evening With Dave Grusin, which received a nomination for Best Surround Sound and, as a proud member of the Sonny Rollins band, Sammy is a strong presence on Sonny Rollins' Road Shows Vol II, which received two nominations -- one for Best Jazz Album and one for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. Sammy doesn't make records for the sake of the Grammy -- he does it all for the music! -- but it's always great to be recognized by one's music industry peers.
In May of 2010 Sammy participated in a unique series of recording sessions, directed by the uniquely talented and visionary producer Bob Belden. The sessions were a tribute to the "Spanish side of Miles Davis", with whom Sammy had the honor of working with for several years. Produced with the same approach as many of Miles' albums, Bob placed some of the greatest musicians in the world together in one room and let them make their magic. Musicians brought in from Spain included Chano Dominguez, Christina Pato, Jorge Pardo, Carlos Benavent and the genius American musician Jerry Gonzales. New York-based players included John Benitez, Edmar Castaneda and Ron Carter. Now this legendary music has been released on E-1 Records in a double CD set. Sammy says "Bob had a very ambitious and daring vision for this project. The whole experience was very creative and it was fun to be reunited musically with so many great friends and musicians. Bob made it feel like the old days, when musicians really played together."
Fans of superb Latin jazz will finally be able to hear Sammy's third album, 'Urban Nature' produced by Rachel Faro, with incredible music composed and arranged by Venezuelans maestros Silvano Monasterios and Gabriel Vivas. With special guest appearances by Ed Calle, Mike Orta and Venezuelan percussionist Jose Gregorio Hernandez, this album is a true labor of love, combining playful fusion jazz with classical beauty and dazzling displays of virtuousity. Senator Records/distributed by K7/RED Distribution.
In December 2009 the great jazz impresario Larry Rosen presented an historic concert at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center. Jazz luminaries such as Gary Burton, Patti Austin, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Secada, Nestor Torres and of course, Sammy Figueroa joined the Henry Mancini Orchestra to pay tribute and make music with the great composer/arranger Dave Grusin. This fantastic concert was recorded and made into a CD produced by Phil Ramone, an iPad App and a great concert DVD which has already been broadcast on Miami's PBS-TV Channel 2. Watch out for more broadcasts throughout the USA in Fall 2011. This is a truly exciting jazz event, well-produced and featuring some pretty spectacular playing by Sammy.
Since early 2010 Sammy has had the great honor of playing in the band of the great jazz master Sonny Rollins. This has been a great experience creatively and personally. Despite his age, Sonny is as creative and dynamic as ever and together with bassist Bob Cranshaw, drummer Kobie Watkins and guitarists Russell Malone and Peter Bernstein the band has already played numerous festivals including North Sea, Vienne, Barcelona, New Orleans Jazzfest, Copenhage, Melbourne and Gent, plus venues such as the Sydney Opera House, NJPAC and concerts in Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo. This year some of the venues they will be playing are Monterrey Jazz, the Kennedy Center in DC, Istanbul, Warsaw and the Olympia Theatre in Paris. The reception has been rock and roll-like throughout: "It's great to play for audiences that appreciate the music so much, that really listen" said Sammy.
Every year the Miami New Times releases its 'Best Of Miami' issue, which advises its readers on everything from the 'Best Happy Hour' to the 'Best Art Gallery'. In former years Sammy has twice been declared as 'Best Percussionist' but this year Sammy has been declared as the altogether "Best Jazz Musician" in town.
Sammy Figueroa flew to New York on May 10th to spend a week in the studio with the noted jazz record producer Bob Belden, working on an album entitled Miles Espanol, a tribute to the famed trumpet-player, with whom Sammy recorded and performed for several years. The album, which shall be released on E-1 Entertainment (Koch), was recorded in very much the same way as Miles' albums with Teo Macero: with an open-ended sense of time and groove, the music flowing between the players. Other players on this album include Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Alex Acuna, Paquito D'Rivera, Jerry Gonzales, Christina Pati, Jorge Pardo, Carlos Benavent and Jaco Abel.
When WDNA asked Sammy Figueroa to shift his time slot from the Friday afternoon Latin Jazz Quarter to only an hour on Monday mornings at 11, Sammy felt a little bit like he was being sent to the back of the class. The only consolation was that he didn't have to stick to the Latin jazz format anymore but could play any style of music he loved from his vast collection and knowledge of multi-genres. Imagine his surprise when told that his show has shot up in ratings faster than any other show in the history of the station and is still going strong. Tune in to this unique radio experience every Monday from 11 AM to 12 noon, EST on South Florida's 88.9 FM or streaming live on the web on www.wdna.org.
Sammy Figueroa has signed an endorsement agreement with New Brunswick-based Sabian Cymbals, one of the world's premier cymbal companies. Sabian, whose company slogan is "Because Sound Matters", endorses many prominent drummers and percussionists, such as Jimmy Cobb, Bobby Sanabria, John Santos and Dave Weckl. Sammy is particularly enamoured of Sabian's Effeks Cymbal, which can be played by stick or hand.
On March 13th 2010 Sammy Figueroa and his band, the Latin Jazz Explosion, appeared at one of Europe's most distinguished and venerable jazz festivals. The band performed in an expanded version, with four extra horn players and a singer. The great baritone sax player Ronnie Cuber and fabulous trumpet player Lew Soloff joined Australian sax player Troy Roberts and trombonist Marshall Gilkes to expand the band's sound into a truly exciting, dynamic wall of sound. The band was joined by jazz super-singer Dana Paul and the entire performance was broadcast live throughout Germany on Bavarian Radio and Television.