RIP Dave Samuels

Very sad. I have some great memories of Dave.

Of course he left a lot of great music behind.

My Samuels story is going to a gig he had in Delaware with my best friends wife. He was working and said take Annie with you! So we went. Had a great time I think. It was 40 years ago!!!! I remember a couple things.

The club was empty except for us.
Dave played great but I don't remember who was in the band. I bet it was piano and vibes, however none of that has stayed in my memory. I just remember thinking about how great he was!

Access: Anonymous


Just wanted to say a few words regarding my discovery of Dave Samuels. I initially heard him on a Gerry Niewood album called Timepiece from around 1975 on A&M/Horizon records and I don't think it has ever been re-released on CD. It was actually the first time I heard a vibraphone without another chordal instrument such as guitar or piano. Just Gerry on alto and flute, Dave on vibes, and bass and drums and it was a quartet date. So it was an eye-opener for me. Double Image was my next experience and I liked that tremendously.

I suppose it's easy to be critical of Spyro Gyra as happy-jazz and I wasn't a fan of the group other than Dave's playing with them. I'd put on their live album and pick up the needle and place it where the marimba solos would be, and they never disappointed. I always thought it was interesting that a studio guy would provide their most distinctive sound, but he did to my ears. And on marimba, no less.

Sorry to read that he had been ill for a while. I'm sure he's in a better place.

i flipped out the first time i head double image. kind of interesting that nothing like that was done before! they came across very very unique!

I'm glad I got to know Samuels a bit.

I transcribed many of Dave's solos in the 80's and learned a lot about phrasing from him. Double Image and the Caribbean Jazz Project were major influences for me. Thanks, Dave for your always great musicality.

you are right. great phrasing!

Hey all,

A few days after the passing of Dave Samuels, I did a local radio interview where the conversation inevitably turned to Dave and what a great role model he was. So I thought VW might be a good place to share this.

I started studying with Dave when I was in high-school and he was an emerging artist, about 1979. When I arrived in NYC and began also doing things like synth programming, he hired me to work on his projects and also got me gigs with other people like Spyrogyra and Dave Valentin (btw, this is why it can be great to branch-out as a vibist into some other musical areas). Overall, we knew each other for close to 40 years and at times he was like an older brother to me.

I could go on, but I will just put one thing out there I never hear anyone say - Dave was maybe the BEST jazz marimba player who ever lived. Of course he's one of the all-time great vibists too, but his marimba playing was really special and I always felt that he had a very personal sound on that instrument.

Here is the link - the main section about Dave starts around 17:00:



I took some lessons from Dave just before and just after my first son was born. I remember the feeling of pride I had when I gave Dave a copy of the birth announcement and we talked about kids for quite a long time that day.

By the time I got around to taking those lessons we had already talked on the phone about vibraphone, marimba, and microphones and pickups several times so I felt like I already owed him for lessons. He was so giving of his time and advice.

I have one story I'd like to share from my lessons with him. It was at my first lesson. I hadn't been playing vibes for about 3 or 4 years but with the birth of my son I felt like now was the time that life was changing and a good time to dig back in. So, I got one of my solo vibraphone ballads together. After the welcome and glad you found the house conversation I played my ballad for him. I was very nervous and when I finished I looked up and he didn't say anything right away. Then he said "that was terrible!" I squeaked out a comment like "too much pedal?" and he said "well we will start with that."

What followed was, for me, transformative and I would never play a jazz ballad the same way again. I still have my cassette tapes of my lessons and on rare occasions - like packing up the house to move to Florida - I put them on and listen to them.

I always find something that I had never noticed before.

Thanks Dave for all your great playing, great teaching and warm personality.