The work of trumpeter Claudio Roditi has inspired such accolades as "one of the very best performers in jazz" from the All Music Guide, earned praise from the Los Angeles Time for his "intelligence and music focus," and led the Chicago Reader to comment that Roditi has "a New York grasp of swing, the Brazilian gift for graceful and pungent lyricism, and an innate sense of how best to combine them in any given piece." In addition to leading his own band on 20 or so albums, he's worked in the bands of McCoy Tyner, Herbie Mann, Paquito D'Rivera, and others. For his new disc -- "Bons Amigos" -- Roditi and his quintet focus on a program of songs from his homeland of Brazil.
It's not every day that a distinguished sideman becomes a successful leader in his own right. But that hasn't stopped legendary percussionist Sammy Figueroa from becoming one of the most exciting artists in Latin jazz today. After many years of playing with jazz masters like Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis, Figueroa formed his own band, the Latin Jazz Explosion. On the heels of two Grammy-nominated discs, he and his band unveil "Urban Nature" -- recorded in Miami and reflecting the rich scene of Venezuelans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other cultures that are currently percolating there, creating a whole new sound for Latin jazz.