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Drummer Sammy Figueroa’s latest project

February 3, 2015

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Please check out the campaign to raise money for the new album: Imaginary World

About seven months ago my band and I started an campaign to raise money for our new album. Then we all got busy! I was on the Norwegian Getaway as featured artist at The Grammy Experience for eight weeks and then produced an album in Brazil.

Silvano recorded his own new album and Gaby was traveling the world with Yanni. We want to thank those who did contribute from the bottom of our hearts. You will receive your perks! You are appreciated!

We’ve got amazing music, great players and a June release on Savant Records. All we need now is a little help from our friends. Check out our campaign on the link below. Let’s make Imaginary World a musical reality! with many thanks and warmest regards, Sammy.

About Sammy Figueroa

Sammy Figueroa Photo by photo by Jaime Rivera

Sammy Figueroa
Photo by photo by Jaime Rivera

Sammy Figueroa has long been regarded as one of the world’s great musicians. As one of the world’s leading percussionists he has played on countless records, providing the rhythmical framework for hundreds of hits. Well-known for his versatility and professionalism, he is one of the few percussionists equally comfortable in a multitude of styles, from R & B to rock to pop to bebop to Latin to Brazilian to New Age. As one of New York‘s most sought after session players Sammy played on countless albums, jingles and film scores and appeared often on The David Letterman Band and the Saturday Night Live Band. He has recorded and toured with Miles Davis, the Brecker Brothers (for 12 years!), Sonny Rollins, Michel Camilo (who wrote the tune ‘And Sammy Walked In’ in his honor), Chaka Khan, David Bowie, and Mariah Carey (in her multi-million selling MTV Unplugged). Sammy‘s famed sense of humor, ebullient personality, and open-heartedness is famous within the music industry and has further empowered him in his connection with musicians and audiences alike.

As leader of The Latin Jazz Explosion, Sammy empowers his players and has created an ensemble that is astounding in its musical excitement. His first album, “And Sammy Walked In” (on Savant Records), co-produced by longtime production partner Rachel Faro, included music by Michel Camilo and Hermeto Pascual. His second album, “The Magician”, (also on Savant Records), again co-produced with Rachel Faro, features spectacular original compositions by Venezuelans Silvano Monasterios and Gabriel Vivas alongside jazz classics such as Seven Steps and Cedar Walton‘s Firm Roots. Both albums received Grammy Nominations for Best Latin Jazz Album. His third album, “Urban Nature” further explores the connection between Latin rhythms and complex modern jazz, with offerings ranging from the complex ‘Gufillo’ to the poetic lyricism of ‘Zuliana’ to the swinging salsa of Mongo’s ‘Cuca y Olga’.

In late 2008, ‘just for fun’, Sammy developed a second band, Sally’s Tomato, an exciting tribute to the music of Cal Tjader. With the blessings of Tjader family, this band caught on instantly, magnetizing a devoted fan base of its own with its breezy tropical, retro sound.

Sammy recently appeared with the Dave Grusin Orchestra in a Jazz Roots revisiting of Grusin‘s legendary rendering of Leonard Bernstein‘s “West Side Story”. This concert was released on Concord Records as a DVD and was broadcast on National Public Television.

Sammy appears in several important books on music and its legends. His relationship with Miles Davis is described at length both in Miles‛ own words in his autobiography entitled “Miles” and in “The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis From 1980 – 1991” by George Cole. Anecdotes about Sammy abound in Paquito D‛Rivera‛s amusing book “My Sax Life”. Sammy has also been included in The Grove‛s Dictionary of Jazz.

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