Grammy-winner Dave Samuels brings The Caribbean Jazz Project to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Grammy-winner Dave Samuels brings The Caribbean Jazz Project to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Top jazz mallet player Dave Samuels and The Caribbean Jazz Project bring their Grammy-winning virtuosity and improvisation to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Friday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. Acclaimed saxophonist Joe Lovano will join the group for a night of Latin rhythms and intricate jazz.

Equally adept at vibraphone and marimba, Samuels has gained a reputation as the top mallet player of his generation. He is recognized for his inventive style, which takes improvisation to a new level of creativity.

Born in Chicago, Samuels started playing both drums and piano at the age of six, eventually combining his musical interests by exploring the vibes and marimba in college. He first gained international exposure in 1974 when he toured with Gerry Mulligan's sextet. Within a few short years, he co-founded and recorded and toured with three groundbreaking groups - Double Image, Gallery and The Skylight Trio.

By 1976, Samuels was off in a new musical direction, performing and recording with musical innovator Frank Zappa. The next decades saw him taking the stage with an eclectic array of top musicians from Chet Baker and Stan Getz to Pat Metheny and Bruce Hornsby. He also released four solo albums that received both critical and audience acclaim.

Samuels spent nearly 20 years with Spyro Gyra, during which time the group was nominated for five Grammys and was named Contemporary Jazz Group of the 1980s by Billboard magazine. Samuels' other awards include Best Vibes Player nods from both Jazziz and Modern Drummer magazines.

In recent years, Samuels has focused his creative energies on The Caribbean Jazz Project, a sextet he founded in 1993. With six albums released, the group tours regularly, exploring the blend of African, European and island sounds that come together in Caribbean music. The ensemble won the 2003 Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Recording for "The Gathering," and was nominated the following year for "Birds of a Feather."

"Birds of a Feather" showcases new instrumentation for the group with an emphasis on trumpet and flugelhorn. Featured players include Randy Brecker, Ray Vega, Romero Lubambo, Daro Eskenazi, Ruben Rodriguez, Robert Quintero and Dafnis Prieto.

This year, the group released "Here and Now - Live in Concert," a two-CD retrospective, and "Schuur Fire," a collaboration with legendary vocalist Diane Schuur that includes familiar tunes from James Taylor, Stevie Wonder and others set to Latin rhythms. Samuels sees the live CD as a real look inside the band at its best.

"The thing that happens in the studio is you can get this kind of veneer/urethane coating on top of the music that sometimes can disguise the intent and intensity of the music," Samuels told a writer for "This live record is just the opposite of that."

Multiple Grammy-winning tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano will join the Caribbean Jazz Project for its Quick Center appearance. Known for combining the fire and spirituality of John Coltrane with modern improvisation, Lovano is a much sought-after musician, who has collaborated with many of the 20th century's top jazz innovators, including Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Woody Herman and Herbie Hancock.

He has won several Downbeat Magazine Critics' Poll nods as a top saxophonist and overall jazz leader.

"It is fair to say he's one of the greatest musicians in jazz history," said a New York Times critic.

Tickets are $30 and $25. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit .

Posted On: 09-23-2005 10:09 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 40