Dave Samuels

Dave Samuels, born on October 9, 1948 in Waukegan, Illinois, is an American mallet percussionist (vibraphone/marimba), best known for his work with the jazz-fusion group, Spyro Gyra. He can also be heard with Oscar Peterson on the 1995 album release, An Oscar Peterson Christmas.

Samuels started playing the drums and age six. After graduating from New Trier High School (Winnetka, Illinois) he went on to receive a psychology degree from Boston University where he also began studying mallet percussion instruments. He attended Berklee College of Music, studying with Gary Burton, and later became an instructor at the school.

Samuels has worked with various jazz and fusion artists throughout his career. He had the opportunity to work with Pat Metheny and John Scofield while in Boston, and then, in 1974, toured and recorded with legendary saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan. Additional performance experiences early in his career included working with the group Timepiece, Frank Zappa, and Double Image, where he interacted with fellow mallet percussionist, Dave Friedman, from 1977-1980.

Samuels began his association with Spyro Gyra in 1979 as a recording guest on many of the group's recordings — in 1986 he became a member and the one soloist with the band that jazz critics went out of their way to praise. After leaving Spyro Gyra in the mid-'90s, Samuels has gone on to wortk with the Grammy-winning jazz-Latin music group, The Caribbean Jazz Project, which he co-leads with steel drummer Andy Narrell and altoist/clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera.

Dave Samuels died on April 22, 2019 from an undisclosed, long-term illness; he was 70.