One of the most eclectic groups in jazz today is Dave Samuels’ Caribbean Jazz Project. Samuels founded this group 10 years ago and is the group’s vibes and marimba player. In 2002, the Caribbean Jazz Project won a Grammy for the CD The Gathering. This Friday, March 12, the Caribbean Jazz Project will perform at the Jazz Kitchen for two shows. Samuels is as passionately articulate in conversing about steering his group’s diverse musical direction as he is using his mallets on stage. NUVO: You take the CJP into many diverse musical cultures that range from Africa, the Caribbean, South America to Europe. Do you find yourself slanting the group toward any one particular culture, based on the group’s instrumentation at that time? Samuels: I have been trying to expand it. When the first combination of the Caribbean Jazz Project started, it was very broad in terms of music that we play. I started getting involved playing with Steve Kahn and Dave Valentin and it narrowed a bit. I feel like what’s happening now since The Gathering and Birds of Feather CDs is it’s starting to broaden once again and I would like to see that process continue. NUVO: Do you seek a balance in the group, from a jazz artist playing Latin music or a Latin artist playing jazz? Samuels: That’s an interesting question. I guess my own orientation is if I was to rename the genre of music that we are playing, I probably would call it jazz Latin as opposed to Latin jazz. I have always been fascinated and always wanted to pursue music that involves improvisation. That’s really the core of what takes place for me. There is a lot of music that is considered Latin in style that has no improvisation. How we decorate that environment musically in terms of what the rhythm section does and the style of the piece affects the improvisation but improvisation is always at the core of the music. The Caribbean Jazz Project’s latest recorded effort, Birds of Feather, reflects all of Samuels’ concepts of jazz Latin and may be another Grammy contender. They play two sets at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. this Friday at the Jazz Kitchen. This is a premium jazz group that can take you on their musical journey of the world.
Downtown The Chatterbox, 435 Mass. Ave., brings back the innovative style of pianist/composer/arranger Mina Keohane’s Group Friday, March 12. Saxophonist Keni Washington & Omniverse present their distinctive sound Saturday, March 13. Performances both nights are 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. with a cover charge. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 15 S. Illinois St., “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz Sunday” features the great vocal/instrumental group The 4 Sexes March 14 performing 7 to 10 p.m. Jazz on the Avenue, 617 Indiana Ave. in the fourth floor ballroom in the Madame Walker Theatre Center, features the urban jazz sounds of Taylor Made Friday, March 12 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Fountain Square Theatre, Virginia Avenue, Shelby and Prospect streets, Swing Dance Night March 12 has The Tim Brickley Quintet playing 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Northside Jazz Kitchen, 54th Street and College Avenue, brings in the Grammy Award-winning Caribbean Jazz Project led by Dave Samuels with its original sound. Nationally renowned alto saxophonist/educator Jamey Aebersold Quintet will feature Steve Allee, piano, Ray Simerly, trombone, Tyrone Wheeler, bass, and Jonathan Higgins, drums. Music sets both nights are at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 3316 E. 86th St., Keystone at the Crossing, has the trio of Steve Corn, piano, Joe Deal, bass, and Kevin Johnson, drums, Friday, March 12 playing 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, March 13, Claude Sifferlen takes over the piano seat. Performances are 5 to 11 p.m. North United Methodist Church, 38th and Meridian streets, will present The Mark Buselli-Brent Wallarab Jazz Orchestra Friday, March 12 in a free and open to the public concert at 7 p.m. Northeast Sangiovese Restaurant, 4110 E. 82nd St., presents the magnificent vocal offerings of Brenda Williams, with David Meeks on piano and Frank Smith on bass Wednesdays, followed by the warm vocals of Shannon Forsell with Ray Larman on piano Thursdays. David Meeks plays solo piano Friday. Music each night goes 7 to 10 p.m. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.