Here’s a new CD from the Daniel Bennett Group from New York, officially released on February 5. The setup of the band already makes clear that this is not another ordinary or traditional jazz band. Guitar, bass and drums together are  typically found in pop or rock bands and Daniel Bennett plays alto saxophone and all kinds of other woodwinds like oboe, clarinet and flute (Alto sax with guitar is also a perfect combination since they use a different frequency range and get the necessary space to shine). All songs on the album have been written by Daniel Bennett and his style and his taste are strongly influenced by classical saxophone literature (where he actually holds a master degree), minimalistic composers like Philip Glass and all those “little bits from here and little bits from there” influences you’ll pick up in the capital of jazz music.

The songs are quite structured, arranged and do not follow the standard schema of jazz standards. Improvisational parts are included but limited. That also means that a song on the CD lasts between 3 and 4 minutes.

The sound of the band is compact and distinct, Daniel Bennett’s alto saxophone sound is beautiful and the quality of the recording is excellent.

Let’s take a closer look at the songs on the CD:

The first three songs “The Clown Chemist”, “The Spinning Stood Still” and “Paul Platypus” are all played in the default line-up with Nat Janoff on guitar, Eddy Khaimovich on bass and Matthew Feick on drums.

“The Clown Chemist” already shows the ability of the band to play complex rhythm patterns with a shining saxophone flying over the grooving band, changing grooves and instruments, when Daniel Bennett picks up his flute playing like the Pied Piper of Hamelin bringing us all into his musical cosmos.

This journey continues with “The Spinning Stood Still” where guitar and bass get a chance to show their virtuosity as soloists.

The next song is, according to Daniel Bennett, the most popular song on the album. “Paul Platypus” was picked as “Jazz Track Of The Day” at All About Jazz (www.allaboutjazz.com). It has a catchy melody

But Daniel is not stopping here, continuing on the path he outlined. He jumps into something different: “Minor Leaguer” is a poem by Britt Melewski set to music with Britt himself reciting his words. A very unique acoustic art work.

The next two tunes “Nine Piglets” and “Strange Jim and the Zebra” are again very Daniel Bennett-ish. The title of the songs remind me about funny or mysterious stories from children books and the songs itself have a strong melody played in a very elegant and harmonic way.

Britt Melewski gets a second chance to present one of his poems. In “Morning” however the words are more shouted than spoken over a steady riff played by the band.

With “Inside the Outside Interlude” and the last song on the CD called “Outside the Inside Outro” we get to know another facet of this CD, the “Free Jazz” side of Daniel Bennett, featuring Jason Yeager on piano.

Jason Yeager gets his big moment in “Uncle Muskrat” which is the most down-to-earth title on this CD. This song is rather bluesy and straight played with a soft double bass and smooth percussion background. Very classy.

Daniel Bennett takes us on this CD on a journey to rather different shores. Songs like mysterious children stories, poems and free jazz music show the many facets of what Jazz is all about: Express yourself.

“The Mystery at Clown Castle”  is a true colorful piece of contemporary jazz and I would recommend that you to take some time and listen to the CD more than once to comprehend his music.

More information on tour dates of the Daniel Bennett Group are found on their website www.danielbennettgroup.com

Here is an interview with Daniel Bennett on NBC 12 – Florida with a live performance of “Paul Platypus”:
Daniel Bennett Group on First Coast Living (NBC 12 – Florida)

And finally a playlist on iTunes:

Danny Jazz Trio – Gymnosphère


Today I would like to present you a CD of mine.

Together with my friends and fellow musicians Daniel Gaggioli on saxophone and Meinrad Thalmann on double-bass we recorded and produced our first CD “Gymnosphère”.

Seven of the songs have been written by Daniel, I am the author of one tune and three cover versions of jazz standards have been recorded for the CD.

The whole project started a year ago, when we decided to produce our own CD. We arranged a workshop in Merano and booked the studio and started to write and select songs.

The recording session took three days and all songs have been recorded live in the Splendorstudio in Bern (www.splendorstudio.ch). Big thanks to Martin Kissing for his professional work and his enthusiastic support.

In the week before the recording we went for a workshop in Merano, Italy (www.meranojazz.it) where we were able to present our work to the teachers at the workshop and had the chance to play together for a whole week. Special thanks here to Ewald Kontschieder who supported us so perfectly and to Franco D’Andrea who was our teacher during this week and played with us at the final workshop concert.


Back to the CD. Daniel wrote a little suite called “An Apple A Day – Keeps The Doctor Away” which was split on the CD as the second and second last song. The title song “Gymnosphère” is a slow and breezy waltz. The last song “Duck Walk” is really humorously and straight swinging with Danny and me playing solos alternately.

Daniel plays alto and soprano sax, I use a chorus  on some tunes and different reverb effects have been added in the mixing process, which results in a variety of different sounds. “Change Or Quit” is really dry and “Poinciana” and “An Apple A Day” have much more volume.

I am really proud of this CD and I have added teasers of all songs at the end of this post. Enjoy listening.

We will have a CD party on March 12, 2015 at the Ono in Bern (www.onobern.ch).

You can order the CD directly from Daniel (www.danielgaggioli.ch) or from CeDe.ch (www.cede.ch).