A talented vibraphonist and marimba player, Dave Samuels has gained his greatest fame for his many years with Spyro Gyra.
He started on his first instrument, the drums, when he was six, but by the time he attended Boston University (from which he graduated with a psychology degree), he was studying mallet instruments. Samuels attended the Berklee School of Music, where one of his teachers was Gary Burton, and soon became an educator himself. Samuels had the opportunity to work with Pat Metheny and John Scofield while in Boston, and then, in 1974, he toured and recorded with Gerry Mulligan. Other early experiences included working with the group Timepiece, Frank Zappa, and Double Image, where he interacted with fellow vibraphonist Don Friedman from 1977-1980. Samuels began his association with Spyro Gyra in 1979 by guesting on their recordings; finally, in 1986, he became a member and the one soloist with the band that jazz critics went out of their way to praise. Unfortunately, his own solo records through the years, particularly from the mid-'80s on for MCA and GRP, have tended to be commercial and a bit disappointing. However, after leaving Spyro Gyra in the mid-'90s, Samuels has done some impressive work with the Caribbean Jazz Project. Sticking mostly to marimba with the band (which he co-leads with steel drummer Andy Narrell and altoist/clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera), Dave Samuels is at his best during their very likable concerts. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi