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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Caribbean Jazz Project: Afro Bop Alliance

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Lionel Hampton was one of the first “real" jazz vibraphonists. In more recent years, Gary Burton has been among those who have kept the instrument an integral part of the jazz scene. However, another name is also synonymous with the instrument. That is Dave Samuels.A longtime member of Spyro Gyra who occasionally reunites with the group, performing on a few songs here and there for recordings, Samuels is a master of both the vibraphone and the marimba. He also, when desiring a certain effect, has used a mallet-triggered synthesizer. After a brief solo career that included such recordings ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels: Mosaic

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Mosaic is the first studio album since 2003 by the Carribean Jazz Project, led by vibes/marimba specialist Dave Samuels. Drawing on a variety of Afro-Cuban, Venezuelan, Peruvian, Jamaican and other North American rhythms, this release features three different bands. On four tracks, Samuels leads a quintet with keyboardist Alain Mallet, bassist Boris Kozlov, drummer Dafnis Prieto and percussionist Roberto Quintero. Two other tracks feature violinist Christian Howes, and the remaining three selections find Samuels reunited with former CJP co-founders reedman Paquito D'Rivera and steel pan player Andy Narell.

Best known for his lengthy tenure with Spyro Gyra, Samuels' resume also ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Caribbean Jazz Project: Here and Now - Live in Concert

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Mallet man Dave Samuels' career has ranged from the experimental, ECM-ish vibe of his '70s Double Image group to an artistically questionable association with the commercially viable smooth jazz group Spyro Gyra. And while those who knew just how much Samuels was capable of were more than a little surprised to see him maintain a long-term relationship with such a lightweight group, he managed to remain credible, always being critically singled out, even as Spyro Gyra itself was often dismissed.

But, while Samuels' years with Spyro Gyra might have confused his fans, as did a string of equally lightweight solo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Caribbean Jazz Project: Here and Now - Live in Concert

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It seems that every year I get an album that is so impressive, I claim it is the likely to be the best new jazz release of the year. Usually that doesn't happen until August or September. It's only February, and I've already heard two. They may not hold up over the next ten months, but they've set a high standard that will be tough to beat. The first of these is the Caribbean Jazz Project's Here and Now. Led by Dave Samuels, a specialist on marimba and vibes, this group creates some of the most exciting new ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Caribbean Jazz Project: The Gathering

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Dave Valentine and Dave Samuels provide a pleasant Caribbean mood. With flute and marimba out front, the band takes on a natural appearance. Their performance remains as informal as a jazz party on the beach. Samuels' “Rendezvous" begins the session with a guest appearance by Paquito D'Rivera. Recall that the alto saxophonist helped found Caribbean Jazz Project in 1995, along with Samuels and percussionist Andy Narell. Today, the ensemble is as animated as ever, trading fours, quoting from the literature, and stretching out with spirit. Valentine and Samuels have an empathy with their rhythm section that ensures an even flow. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Caribbean Jazz Project: Paraiso

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This is possibly the most intricate, intellectual, and compositionally advanced Latin jazz that's been made to date. Certainly the tri-leaders of the group - vibraphonist Dave Samuels, flautist Dave Valentin, and guitarist Steve Khan - are in the top echelon of performers on their respective instruments, and all have played in a unusually broad range of musical settings throughout their performing careers, and they bring all these resources to this release. The three principals contribute well-thought-out, technically advanced jazz solos - lovers of all flavors of jazz will find a lot to marvel at and digest here. They also call ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andy LaVerne & Dave Samuels: Between Earth & Mars

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Like label mate Harold Danko, pianist Andy LaVerne possesses talent that should be commensurate with a much broader public awareness. One of sax legend Stan Getz’s favorite accompanists, LaVerne has built a sizable catalog for SteepleChase over the past two decades- some 18 strong- with Between Earth & Mars serving as a reunion with vibraphonist Dave Samuels. Also thrown into the mix is bassist Jay Anderson, who completes this rather atypical trio.

Far away from his visibility as a past member of the popular group Spyro Gyra, Samuels contributes a singular performance that reminds us that he is indeed one ...



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