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Sammy Figeroa & His Latin Jazz Explosion: Urban Nature

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The compliment might make a manager cringe, but Urban Nature never sounds like someone’s vehicle. This is percussionist Sammy Figueroa’s third album as a leader, but here the ensemble playing, and the music, is the story. And a great story it is.

A first-call sideman for artists as diverse as Sonny Rollins (his current employer), Miles Davis and Michel Camilo but also Chaka Khan and Mariah Carey, Figueroa moved to Miami in 2001 and soon after was leading his own band. Early editions included notables such as flutist Dave Valentin and former Cuban supergroup Irakere’s tenorman Carlos Averhoff. And for the past five years he has been able to maintain a steady lineup including trumpeter Alex Pope Norris, saxophonist John Michalak, pianist Silvano Monasterios, bassist Gabriel Vivas and drummer Nomar Negroni. The persistence and hard work are paying off.

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