Dave Samuels: Tjader-ized: A Cal Tjader TributeBy
But Tjader's substantial influence remains alive in recordings like this. It's no wonder Dave Samuels – currently of the Caribbean Jazz Project and formerly of hitmakers Spyro Gyra and the little known Double Image – would cast himself in a Tjader tribute. Like Tjader, Samuels is an imaginative soloist with a distinctive, appealing sound. He is a restrained player who never rushes a good idea and never loses his listener in a flurry of wasted notes.
Samuels has invited some notable heavies to participate in Tjader-ized too: young lion David Sanchez, flautist Dave Valentine, pianists Eddie Palmieri (a former Tjader partner) and Michael Wolf and guitarist Steve Kahn. The menu includes a few obvious choices ("Soul Sauce," "Triste), some nice surprises ("Tres Palabras" and Clare Fischer's "Bachi," both originally from Tjader's 1978 disc Huracan and Eddie Palmieri's excellent "Resemblance"), and several new pieces, including former Tjader pianist Chick Corea's "Hand Me Down."
But perhaps due to its exclusive reliance on Latin or Latin-ized themes, Tjader-ized is rather uneventful too. Something nags at this listener that a Tjader tribute on Verve should reflect more of the musical diversity Tjader exhibited during his seven years at the label. Latin themes were actually a small part of the work he crafted at Verve between 1961 and 1968. And it seems that Samuels, who is interesting and worthwhile throughout these near-dozen tunes, would be the ideal artist to provide such diversity. Knowing nothing about the politics or business that went into staging this tribute, it's also surprising that a Tjader tribute on Verve does not include the participation of keyboardist Lonnie Hewitt and, especially, Armando Perazza. That is not to say what remains isn't solid contemporary Latin jazz of the first order. It is. And if Tjader-ized inspires others to explore Cal Tjader's music, then it is also a success.
Tracks:Tjader-ized; Bachi; Soul Sauce; Delta Sierra; Viva Cepeda; Triste; Tres Palabras; Resmblance; Yeah; Hand Me Down; Duo Plus Four.Collective
Collective David Sanchez: tenor sax, soprano sax; Dave Valentin, Bob Franceschini: flute; Barry Donelian: flugelhorn; Ozzie Melendez: trmbone; Dave Samuels: vibes, marimba; Eddie Palmieri, Alain Mallet, Michael Wolff: piano; Alain Mallet: Wurlitzer piano, accordian; Joe Santiago, John Benitez: bass; Steve Kahn: electric and acoustic guitar; Bobbie Allende, Marc Quinones, Karl Perazzo: percussion; Ray Baretto: congas; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez: drums
Title: Tjader-ized: A Cal Tjader Tribute | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Verve Music Group
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About Dave Samuels
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