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Discovered by jazz flautist Herbie Mann, Figueroa became a well-known session and studio musician appearing on tours and albums with the Brecker Brothers, Average White Band, Morrissey–Mullen, John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis.
He has also appeared with Blondie, Sonny Rollins, Dave Sanborn, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, George Benson, Chet Baker, Stanley Clarke, Grover Washington, Jr., Al Jarreau, Tommy Bolin, Lena Horne, Joe Williams, Mark Murphy, Mike Mainieri, Nestor Torres, Chico O’Farrill, Mike Stern, Dave Grusin, Chuck Loeb, Bobby Watson, Dave Valentin, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Rubén Blades, Eddie Palmieri, Bobby Valentín, Tania Maria, Mariah Carey, James Taylor, Dr. John, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Celine Dion, Blues Traveler, Natalie Merchant, David Lee Roth, Hall & Oates, Joe Cocker, Rickie Lee Jones, Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Grace Jones, James Ingram, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin and many others.
Some of the R & B hits he appears on include Sister Sledge's "We Are Family", Luther Vandross' "The Night I Fell In Love" and Ashford and Simpson's "Solid (Like A Rock)", as well as most of the Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards disco hits by Chic and Sister Sledge. Michel Camilo wrote the song "And Sammy Walked In" in his honour, and which was also recorded by Giovanni Hidalgo.
Two of his CD's, And Sammy Walked In and The Magician, have been nominated for Grammys in the "Best Latin Jazz Album" category.
Figueroa hosts a Latin jazz music program on WDNA-FM in Miami, Florida.
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With Art Farmer
With Yusef Lateef
- In a Temple Garden (CTI, 1979)
With Woody Shaw
- Rosewood (Columbia, 1977)
- Cole, George (2007). The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis, 1980-1991. University of Michigan Press. p. 69. ISBN 9780472032600. Retrieved 9 November 2014.