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Caribbean Jazz Project: Here and Now – Live in Concert

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A wintry night in Pittsburgh seems the wrong time to fully appreciate the tropical splendor of the Caribbean Jazz Project. But that was the case last winter when Dave Samuels and his sizzling cohorts transformed the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Concert Hall into a sunshine-dappled beach party. The resultant double-disc set, Here and Now, assembled from four consecutive evening performances, delivers a whopping two hours of dazzling Latinized ingenuity.

As any longstanding fan knows, keeping up with the CJP’s constant personnel churn throughout its decade-long history would demand the skills of a baseball statistician. Indeed, at this juncture Samuels remains the only constant. For a while, listeners grew comfortable with the one-two punch of Samuels on vibes and marimba and Dave Valentin on flute. But the post-Valentin release of Birds of a Feather in 2003 signaled a freshly muscular CJP-with Diego Urcola on trumpet and flugelhorn, bassist Oscar Stagnaro and drummer Mark Walker-for Here and Now.

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