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RIP Dave Samuels

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

For over a decade, Samuels has been performing and recording with his group The Caribbean Jazz Project whose most recent CD ‘Afro Bop Alliance’ serves notice that the CJP is the most inventive Latin Jazz ensembles of this or any era. The album received a Latin Grammy and was also nominated for a Grammy. Previous cd’s ‘Her and Now – Live in Concert’ and ‘Birds of a Feather’ were nominated for “Best Latin Jazz Recording,”. Their recording ‘The Gathering’ won the Grammy in 2003 for ‘Best Latin Jazz Recording’. Some of his other recording projects include ‘Remembrances’, a percussion recording that features a commissioned marimba concerto for chamber orchestra and soloist composed by Jeff Beal, and ‘Tjaderized – A Tribute to Cal Tjader’ (Verve) that features contributions from some of Cal’s former bandmates Chick Corea, Eddie Palmieri, Clare Fischer, Ray Barretto, Michael Wolff and Karl Perazzo and performances by Dave Valentin and David Sanchez.

Another one of Samuels project’s Double Image—the vibe-marimba duo consisting of Dave Samuels & David Friedman—celebrates thirty years of performing together. It was 1974 when these two masters of mallet percussion first created the unique combination of vibraphone and marimba. What emerged was a new sound and approach that has set a new standard for mallet percussionists everywhere.

Their recordings have received critical acclaim and their performances have been described as “spellbinding”. Double Image performs music which spans many styles – from jazz standards and original compositions to through-composed pieces and spontaneous improvisations.

Samuels’ longtime association with Spyro Gyra lasted from 1977 to 1994 and includes 20 recordings. The Grammy-nominated group was named #1 Contemporary Jazz Artist and Contemporary Jazz Group of the ´80s by Billboard magazine.

Besides his playing, Samuels is a respected educator and author and some of his new works can be found at MalletWorks.com and JazzBooks.com. Samuels has been voted “Best Vibes Player” in both Jazziz and Modern Drummer magazines and received numerous Grammy nominations.

Dave Samuels died, reportedly from a long-term illness on April 22, 2019.

SOURCE: Dave Samuel Official Website (http://www.dsamuels.com)

A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Editor-in-Chief Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject. His writing appears on Latin Jazz Network; Chamber Music America magazine and numerous other publications.

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