Best Jazz Musician (2010)

Sammy Figueroa

When naming the leader of the Latin jazz explosion in South Florida, look no further than Sammy Figueroa. He has played on myriad records, providing the rhythmic structure for several mainstream hits. Born in the Bronx and discovered at age 18 by legendary jazz flautist Herbie Mann, he relocated to South Florida in 2001, where he discovered a rich and diverse group of Latin jazz geniuses. The next year, Figueroa and his Latin Jazz Explosion band made their first appearance at the Hollywood Jazz Festival. Blessed with a smooth voice and extensive familiarity of jazz, Figueroa has also found a calling as a radio host. His show, Latin Jazz Quarter, airing every Friday afternoon on WDNA-FM (88.9), is one of the station's most popular. Figueroa not only plays Latin jazz but also allows listeners to experience the musical stylings of African drums, Middle Eastern folk, and Native American chants. At the end of 2008, he put together a band called Sally's Tomato, an ode to the music of Cal Tjader. With two Grammy nominations and appearances with Diana Ross, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie, Sammy Figueroa is truly jazz greatness.


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