Caribbean Jazz Project (CJP) is a Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban jazz group including Dave Samuels, Paquito D'Rivera and Andy Narell. They might be best known for their 2002 album The Gathering. They have recorded seven albums, five for the Concord Jazz label, one for Inak Records and one for Heads Up.
Vibraphone and marimba specialist Dave Samuels, having played for a considerable period with the contemporary jazz group Spyro Gyra, always had a love for Latin music. In 1993 he left this group to pursue this love.
The Caribbean Jazz Project came into being in 1995 when Samuels teamed with steel pan artist Andy Narell and reed master Paquito D'Rivera to perform a concert in New York's Central Park. The group's appearance drew rave reviews and before long their first album, the self-titled Caribbean Jazz Project, was released on the Heads Up International label.
The group has gone through several personnel changes since its beginning. When Rivera and Narell left the group after its second release, Island Stories, it appeared as if the Caribbean Jazz Project would discontinue existence. However, Samuels succeeded in resurrecting a second version of CJP with the addition of guitarist Steve Khan and flutist Dave Valentin. In this format CJP toured extensively and recorded three more releases that eventually resulted in a Grammy Award for the Best Latin Jazz Album with its release The Gathering.
The third version of CJP continues to the present and includes trumpet and flugelhorn specialist Diego Urcola along with pianist Dario Eskenazi, bassist Oscar Stagnaro, drummer Mark Walker and percussionist Roberto Quintero. In this makeup, CJP toured with singer Diane Schuur and teamed to produce the singer's 2005 release Schuur Fire