Iconic Percussionist Sammy Figueroa Honors his Father on new Album ‘Searching For A Memory
(Busco tu Recuerdo)’, Featuring Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymée Nuviola
is due out July 14, 2023 via Ashé Records
Ashé Records is thrilled to announce the release of Searching For A Memory (Busco Tu Recuerdo), a remarkable Latin jazz album by the legendary GRAMMY-nominated percussionist Sammy Figueroa, featuring GRAMMY-winning Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the dynamic Latin GRAMMY-winning Cuban vocalist Aymée Nuviola. Produced by multiple GRAMMY-nominated producer, Rachel Faro, Figueroa’s first album in nearly a decade is dedicated to the memory and music of his father, the late romantic singer Charlie Figueroa.
“My father Charlie Figueroa was a singer of romantic boleros back in the 1950’s, one of the best, whose records still sell to this day. But he passed away as a young man, when I was just a little boy, a victim of his ‘bohemian lifestyle’. But those who knew him, from Eddie Palmieri and Yomo Toro to Charlie’s sister, my Aunt Blanca, all say that I look like him, that I have the same sense of humor and that I inherited his musical talent,” reflected Figueroa.
Charlie’s greatest hit single was “Busco Tu Recuerdo”, in which he sings of searching for the memory of his loved one only to discover that there is no memory, only a dream. This parallels Sammy’s experience – he never really knew his dad – when he searches for a memory of his father all he finds is a dream.
Joining Sammy on Searching For A Memory are two musical greats: pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and vocalist Aymée Nuviola. Their unique bond and emotional outpouring that came to the fore during the recording of the album is deeply embedded in the music. Here, the classic melodies of Charlie’s most famous boleros have been transformed into modern Latin jazz arrangements with elements of son montuno, cha-cha, plena/bomba, mariachi, samba, rumba, and just great clave-based Latin jazz.
Half of the collection is instrumental while the remaining half is punctuated by the high-flying and emotionally charged vocals of Nuviola and Sammy himself, who rediscovered his own voice during the making of this album. He shines on the title track, which was one of his father’s most prominent hits.
Guest artists and contributing arrangers on Searching For A Memory include MacArthur Genius Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenon, trumpet player and multiple GRAMMY winning arranger John Daversa, the brilliant Cuban saxophonistFelipe LaMoglia, Cuban flutist Magalys Herrera, Puerto Rican bassist Ricardo Rodriguez and Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Munir Hossn.
On Searching For A Memory, Sammy Figueroa turns buried emotions into gorgeous musical expression. With the support of his musical family, the process gave Sammy the strength and joy to forgive his father and heal from his chaotic childhood. For this reason, he dedicates this album not just to Charlie Figueroa, but to all children who grow up without fathers.
The recording of this album was made possible by a Creative Residency Grant from the SouthArts Jazz Road initiative.