Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:31 pm
Birthdays come but once a year, but for music lovers, what I like to call "that birthday feeling" is a semi-regular thing. I'm talking about the rush, tinged by anxiety, greeting the first download click on an album you've been longing to hear for months. It's a complicated wash of emotions, boosted by conflicting hopes and assumptions. You're about to get exactly what you've wanted; but what if it's not exactly what you want? And boy, that bike Mom promised to buy had better be cherry red.
For Dave Samuels, the love of his first two instruments — the drums and then the piano — naturally led him to the vibraphone. Samuels' gift for evocative melody and his rhythmic versatility make him one of the leading mallet players of his generation, empowering him to swing from the classic-cool sounds of Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan to the contemporary rhythms of The Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyra and his Caribbean Jazz Project.
On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.