It has been a decade since vibes and marimba player Dave Samuels left the Spyro Gyra band. Now, he is firmly entrenched in the world of Latin jazz and has won the plaudits of his peers and listeners by forming the popular Caribbean Jazz Project. In 2003, the Dave Samuels Caribbean Jazz Project won the Latin Jazz Grammy. David Samuels & The Carribbean Jazz Project will play the Jazz Kitchen Friday, Nov. 4, with shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Samuels is a master of both the vibes and the only consistently active marimba player in jazz. Last week, I caught up with him in New York for this interview.
NUVO: Did winning a Grammy put more pressure on you to raise the creative bar for the group?
Samuels: It's always being challenged. The fact that you win a Grammy for me doesn't really change the challenge at all. The challenge comes from within and the people you play with. A much bigger issue for me is consistently having to put out a lot of records over too short a period of time.
NUVO: As a master of the marimba and vibes, have you been able to observe those instruments being taught for young players in the schools and colleges?
Samuels: Yes, there is interest within the percussion family. A lot of players have shied away from playing vibes, because they are shying away from getting involved with improvisation. They feel like you can't play vibes without improvising and of course that is not true. There are lots of college percussionists that are marimba players who are playing a lot of contemporary music. It's not that the public doesn't know about these instruments and its sound, it's the musicians don't know about these instruments. It's great to go out and play solo. For me it's more valuable to see a marimba or vibes player in an ensemble.
The best proponent of the marimba and vibes in an ensemble, Dave Samuels, will be in performance Friday, Nov. 4 at the Jazz Kitchen. Shows are at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
* Diva vocalist Brenda Williams is back on Wednesdays at Sangiovese Ristorante with David Meeks, piano. Thursdays, Shannon Forsell's silky voice takes over with Ray Larman, piano, and Todd Nichols, drums. Dave Lowe's vocal and keyboard stylings are Tuesday, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday, 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Heavenly Mambo performs 8 p.m. to midnight.
* The Jack Gilfoy Jazz Quintet with Marvin Chandler, piano, Steve Dokken, bass, Mike Stricklin, sax, and drummer/leader Jack Gilfoy will play a Dinner and All That Jazz concert at the Brownsburg American Legion Post 331, 636 E. Main St., Brownsburg, on Friday, Nov. 4. Cocktail hour 6 to 7 p.m. Dinner 7 to 8 p.m. Concert starts at 8 p.m. For tickets call 317-852-3200.
CD pick of the week
"To Love Again" The Duets
Botti is firmly in his niche here as a mainstream jazz ballad storyteller on trumpet. He follows the current trend of using guest pop artists in a jazz setting with surprisingly rewarding results. Michael Bublé shines on "Let There Be Love" with Botti's mellow swinging horn. Sting, Paula Cole, Gladys Knight and Renee Olstead are among the nine guests on the 13 cuts.
Rating: 4 Stars
Botti's sound is pure and rich as he soars in and over these classic ballads with empathetic support from his guests. There is a dual disc CD audio and DVD version. Bonus DVD is a live straight-ahead set with David Sanborn that really cooks.