The group was formed in 1995 when Samuels, who had been the mallet percussionist for Spyro Gyra, joined forces with steel pan player Andy Narell and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera for a concert in NYC's Central Park. They released two albums before Narell and D'Rivera moved on, leaving Samuels to put together a new lineup featuring flute player Dave Valentin and guitarist Steve Khan.
That group put out three more records, including the Grammy winning release The Gathering, before disbanding in 2002. Since then, Samuels and the CJP have toured and recorded with several different lineups of musicians, usually featuring a trumpet player or saxophonist along with Samuels' vibes and marimba and a rhythm section.
Today's first clip has a St. Louis connection and also serves to illustrate how CJP approaches a familiar jazz standard, as it features their version of St. Louis native Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," taken from a concert at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Isreal.
Down below are two clips from CJP's performance in 2008 at the J&R Music Festival in 2008. The first is "Arthur's Dance," an original Samuels tune named for his father, while the second features Samuels' solo on Latin jazz vibist Cal Tjader's well-known composition "Soul Sauce".