Dave Samuels

Dave Samuels, with his distinct musical personality, has established himself as the top mallet player of his generation with a fresh new sound and creative approach to both the vibraphone and marimba. Dave has demonstrated his versatility and gained world wide recognition by performing and recording with a broad scope of artists ranging from Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Carla Bley, The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny, Bruce Hornsby, Frank Zappa, The Fantasy Band, Spyro Gyra and The Caribbean Jazz Project.

Born in Chicago, Samuels began his musical travels, at age six, playing drums and piano. It was while attending college that he combined his interests in both drums and keyboards and started focusing his energies on the vibes and marimba. Dave first gained international exposure in 1974 as a member of the Gerry Mulligan sextet. During the next few years he co-founded, recorded and toured with three different avant garde groups – Double Image, Gallery, and the Skylight Trio.

Dave’s longtime association with Spyro Gyra lasted from 1977 to 1994 and includes 20 recordings. During that time the Grammy Nominated group was named #1 Contemporary Jazz Artist and Contemporary Jazz Group of the 80’s by Billboard magazine.

Throughout his career, Samuels has been recognized by fans and critics alike for his quality in performance and recording. His awards include 5 Grammy nominations and top honors as the Best Vibes Player in both Jazziz and Modern Drummer Magazine.

His solo recordings showcases his writing, performing and producing talents. His 1988 solo debut ‘Living Colors’ (MCA) spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Radio and Records Contemporary Jazz chart. His second release entitled ‘Ten Degrees North’ (MCA) featured Alex Acuna on drums and percussion, John Patitucci on bass, Steve Khan on guitar and Eddie Daniels on clarinet. His third recording ‘Natural Selection’ (GRP) featured the Yellowjackets and Bruce Hornsby and his release ‘Del Sol’ (GRP) was an exploration of Latin Music featuring Dave Valentin, Andy Narell, Danilo Perez and Jorge Strunz. His music has been used in a variety of settings including television and film – most recently in the motion picture ‘The Firm’.

Other recording projects include ‘Remembrances’ a percussion recording that features a commissioned marimba concerto for chamber orchestra and soloist composed by Jeff Beal and ‘Duotones’ a recording celebrating twenty years of performance with Double Image – the original vibraphone and marimba duo with Dave Samuels and David Friedman.

In May of 1998 Dave released ‘Tjaderized – A Tribute to Cal Tjader’ on the Verve label . This unusual tribute features contributions from some of Cal’s former bandmates – Chick Corea, Eddie Palmieri, Clare Fischer, Ray Barretto, Michael Wolff and Karl Perazzo as well as performances by Dave Valentin, Steve Khan and David Sanchez.

Dave, in 1993, formed the highly original sounding ‘Caribbean Jazz Project’ a sextet which featured himself on vibes and marimba, Paquito D’Rivera on saxophone and clarinet and Andy Narell on steel drums. They recorded two CD?s for Heads Up International ‘The Caribbean Jazz Project’ and ‘Island Stories’ which captured the identity and intensity of this unique ensemble.

In 1999, Dave was signed as a ‘Concord Artist’ and reformed The Caribbean Jazz Project with a whole new line up and sound that featured Dave on vibes and marimba, Dave Valentin on flute, Steve Kahn on guitar, Ruben Rodriguez on bass and two percussionists – Richie Flores and Dafnis Prieto. Their two recordings ‘New Horizons’ and ‘Paraiso’ reestablished this group as the preeminent Latin Jazz Ensemble.

With the release of their newest recording ‘The Gathering’ The Caribbean Jazz Project adds a new dimension to their sound – vibes and marimba along with flute are still out front, but this time sans guitar and with the addition of piano as a strong voice in the rhythm section. This new recording also features compositions by all the members as well as a special guest appearance by former CJP alumnus Paquito D?Rivera.