The Caribbean Jazz Project
For a special concert at the Central Park Zoo in 1993, vibraphonist Dave Samuels (who doubles on marimba) put together the Caribbean Jazz Project for the first time. Teaming Samuels with the brilliant (and pioneering) jazz steel drummer Andy Narell and saxophonist Paquito d'Rivera (who alternates between alto, clarinet, and soprano), and eventually joined by pianist Dario Eskenazi, bassist Oscar Stagnaro, and drummer Mark Walker, the group quickly developed a unique and highly appealing sound. Describing their goal as "a musical tour of the Caribbean," the band also ventures musically to several South American countries and Dizzy Gillespie-era New York. The Caribbean Jazz Project has toured on a part-time basis (recording a couple of fine sets for Heads Up) ever since. The band released its first live album, Here and Now, on Concord Jazz in 2005. The studio album Mosaic followed a year later, also on Concord.