Monday, May 14, 2012

Sammy Figueroa's Top 10 Jazz Albums

photo by Lisa Lindhardt
Master percussionist and South Florida resident Sammy Figueroa needs no introduction to those familiar with jazz percussion or latin jazz. His resumé lists the creme de la creme in modern music: Miles Davis, the Brecker Brothers, Sonny Rollins, Michel Camilo, David Bowie, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Blondie, Quincey Jones, Chet Baker, Mick Jagger, Al Jarreau, Lena Horne, Joe Williams, and it does go on. You hear his skills nearly every day on songs like "Solid (As a Rock)", "We Are Family" and pretty much anything by the band Chic. His own albums have recently garnered him 2 Grammy nominations.

A host of a popular radio show on Miami's WDNA, Sammy is also known for his sense of humor and friendly personality. He kindly took time out of his incredible schedule to send us a list of his top 10 favorite jazz albums, as part of our recent poll among Florida musicians - The Top 50 Jazz Albums of All Time. His list also reveals a man of varied and exquisite taste!

Photo by "Mr. B" -

  1. Miles Davis - Four and More (Live At The Fillmore) "I love this because of Tony Williams.  He was 17 years old and the most creative drummer in history.  Tony drove that band into the future."
  2. Freddy Hubbard - Red Clay

  3.  Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles

  4. Cannonball Adderly - Mercy Mercy Mercy
  5.  Cal Tjader - Son a Libre  "Cal Tjader brought a new style and a totally fresh new sound to latin jazz."

  6. Clare Fischer - Thesaurus
  7. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartmann
  8. Wes Montgomery - Live at Tzubo's
  9. Mel Torme - Swings At Schubert Alley
  10.  Stan Getz - Sweet Rain  "This was a magical quartet of gifted players -- every solo of every musician was great."

photo by Jaime Rivera

Boy, if you wanted to start a well-rounded jazz library from scratch - this might be the perfect place to start! Thanks to Mr. Figueroa for the thrilling list and also the insights.

Check out Sammy Figueroa's website here, where you can listen to and order his latest album "Urban Nature"  - which sports this intense, latin jazz line-up: Sammy Figueroa – percussion, Silvano Monasterios – piano, Gabriel Vivas – bass, John Michalak – saxophones, Alexander Pope Norris – trumpet, and Nomar Negroni – drums. That's a fever you want to catch! - PCJ

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