Yamaha today recognized and celebrated the legacy of the iconic vibraphonist Dave Samuels, who passed away on April 22, 2019 at the age of 70 after a long fight with Alzheimer’s disease.
A Yamaha Performing Artist since 1991, Samuels’ loyalty and guidance proved an invaluable resource not only nationally but on a global scale. Yamaha representatives lauded his work and influence as incalculable and credited him with helping make Yamaha Percussion what it is today.
Samuels made a name for himself in jazz with his involvement in the jazz-fusion band Spyro Gyra, performing and recording with the group for more than 30 years. In 1993, he founded the Caribbean Jazz Project with saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and steel pannist Andy Narell. The group took an exploratory journey within Latin and Afro-Caribbean jazz, going on to win a GRAMMY® and a Latin GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album. Additionally, Samuels’ work with fellow vibraphonist David Friedman in the duo Double Image was groundbreaking and historic. Samuels’ collaboration with these three groups, among many others, will forever solidify him as a jazz icon.
“Although I’ve known Dave for many years and spoken to him countless times, I was always challenged by his intellect, musicianship, creativity and wit,” says John Wittmann, senior director, Artist Relations, Yamaha Corporation of America, who worked closely with Samuels for 22 years. “His passion for performance was matched by his passion to teach young musicians the importance of composition. He would say, ‘You have to know how to write a song, not just read it off the page!’”
“We have indeed lost a dear friend, and Yamaha has lost one of our most beloved and influential family members,” Wittmann continues. “We celebrate Dave for his immeasurable contributions to the world of percussion and jazz. Yamaha is proud to have had such a creative, caring and vibrant soul as a member of our family.”
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.