Dave is recognized for his fresh new sound and creative approach to both the vibraphone and marimba. Dave has demonstrated his versatility and gained world wide recognition by performing and recording with a broad scope of artists ranging from Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Carla Bley, The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny, Bruce Hornsby, Frank Zappa, The Fantasy Band, Spyro Gyra, Double Image and The Caribbean Jazz Project.
Throughout his career, Dave has been recognized by fans and critics alike for his quality in performance and recording. He received a Grammy in 2003 for ìBest Latin Jazz Recordingî with his group, The Caribbean Jazz Project, for the CD, ìThe Gatheringî and was nominated a second time for a Grammy in 2004 for ìBest Latin Jazz Recordingî for the ìCaribbean Jazz Project’sî newest release ìBirds of a Feather.î During his time with Spyro Gyra (1977-1994), the 5-time Grammy Nominated group was named #1 Contemporary Jazz Artist and Contemporary Jazz Group of the 80’s by Billboard magazine. Dave’s other awards include being voted Best Vibes Player in both Jazziz and Modern Drummer Magazine.
Born in Chicago, Samuels began his musical travels at age six, playing drums and piano. It was while attending college that he combined his interests in both drums and keyboards and began focusing his energies on the vibes and marimba.
Dave first gained international exposure in 1974 as a member of the Gerry Mulligan sextet. During the next few years he co-founded, recorded, and toured with three different, ground- breaking groups: Double Image; Gallery; and the Skylight Trio.
In 1976 Dave explored new musical horizons when he was invited to perform and record with Frank Zappa. The recording, ìLive in New York ñ 1976,î is considered a Zappa favorite. †
Dave’s four solo recordings showcase his writing, performing and producing talents: ìLiving Colorsî (MCA), ìTen Degrees Northî (MCA), ìNatural Selectionî (GRP), and ìDel Solî (GRP) feature a variety of musical settings that include the Yellowjackets, Bruce Hornsby, Danilo Perez, Andy Narell, and Dave Valentin.
Dave’s recent energies have focused on the highly original sounding, ìCaribbean Jazz Project,î a sextet he founded in 1993. Six recordings have been made with this ground-breaking ensemble: ìThe Caribbean Jazz Project,î ìIsland Stories,î ìNew Horizons,î ìParaiso,î the Grammy-winning ìThe Gatheringî and their newest recording ñ the Grammy nominated, ìBirds of A Feather.î This new recording explores the rich musical traditions of the Caribbean, where music from Africa, Europe and the Caribbean Islands first joined and spread its roots into North and South America . ìBirds of a Featherî introduces a new instrumentation for the ìCaribbean Jazz Projectî that prominently features the sound of the trumpet/flugelhorn. Featured players on this new recording include, Randy Brecker, Ray Vega, Romero Lubambo, Dario Eskenazi, Ruben Rodriguez, Robert Quintero and Dafnis Prieto.