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.
While continuing his career as one of the world’s leading sideman (for the last three years he has been touring in the band of Sonny Rollins), Sammy has also now established himself as a bandleader and artist. It is rare for a successful professional musician such as Sammy to make the transition from sideman to leader in what some might term “the middle years”. Even more unlikely would be for both of this artist’s first two albums to each be honored with Grammy Nominations. But since Sammy Figueroa became a leader in his own right the role has fit him comfortably, as if that was always his destiny. Sammy Figueroa is currently considered to be the most likely candidate to inherit the mantles of Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barretto as one of the world’s great congueros. When Sammy plays percussion he tells a story, taking the listener on a journey.