Percussionist Sammy Figueroa to Salute Cal Tjader

Figueroa and Sally’s Tomato plays midnight Cal Tjader tribute show at Iridium on January 8

Master Percussionist Sammy Figueroa is set to play a midnight show with his Cal Tjader tribute band “Sally’s Tomato” on Friday, Jan. 8th at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. The performance coincides with the opening of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference at the New York Hilton, and will honor the lilting, tropical sounds of the noted vibraphonist.

Self-described as a classic tribute band-as opposed to “cover” band-Sally’s Tomato will perform Tjader classics such as The Continental, Soul Sauce, Tu Crees Que, and Mambo Terrifico, and tracks off of 2003’s posthumous release Cuban Fantasy. The group’s name is derived from a song that Tjader composed and recorded for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and reflects the playfulness and lightness of the music.

Sally’s Tomato was formed in 2008 and made its debut at the Miami Book Fair last November, quickly obtaining an enthusiastic following and the blessing of Tjader’s children. Figueroa gathered together several musicians for the project, including Richard Bravo on timbales, Brian Potts on vibraphone, Alexander Hoyt on piano and Freddy Lugo on bongos. For this performance the band will be joined by New York-based bassist Waldo Chavez.

Figueroa is widely known as a well-respected session and studio musician, and has appeared with everyone from jazz greats Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, to pop heavyweights Whitney Houston, Mick Jagger and James Taylor. He performed with Mariah Carey on her 1992 MTV Unplugged recording, which went on to sell several million copies. Figueroa boasts two solo albums, 2005’s And Sammy Walked In and 2007’s The Magician, both of which earned Grammy nominations for Best Latin Jazz Album.

Tjader, who recorded close to 80 albums in his long and varied career, is considered one of the great innovators of Latin jazz despite not being of Latin descent. Tjader primarily played the vibraphone, but was also accomplished on the drums, bongos, congas, timpani, and piano. He is credited as helping to establish Latin Jazz as a genre and is linked to the foundation of “cool” and “acid” jazz. He won a Grammy in 1980 for his album La Onda Va Bien and died two years later.

There will be only one show, at midnight. The Iridium Jazz Club is located in New York City’s Theater District. Tickets are $20 and $10 for people with reservations, which can be made by calling (212) 582-2121 for. Admission is free for APAP badge holders. Visit Iridium Jazz Club for more information.