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Saxophonist Peter Daniel loves the journeyman life

Saxophonist Peter Daniel
Parker Miles Blohm
Saxophonist Peter Daniel

Peter Daniel is a busy guy. He's the leader of the 45th St Brass, plays with the New Orleans-influenced funk group Super Krewe, appears on recent records from Lucky Brown & the SGs and Marina & the Dreamboats, and has toured with electro duo Odesza and alt-popper Father John Misty. "When you say it like that, it sounds like a problem," Daniel says.

Indeed, when Daniel arrived just before noon at the KNKX studios with his quartet — Joe Doria on organ, Andy Coe playing guitar, Xavier Lecouturier at the drums — he told us he'd already had a gig that day. "I just came from a brass band gig opening a new grocery store, we're doing another one for them in Ballard next month, too."

Peter Daniel knows how to hustle. Noting that the business side of showbiz isn't where he wants to spend his time, Daniel says he's embraced the role he's learned from other musicians in the community. "I could either wait for one of them to call me, or get up and do it myself." He also points to his past job working with the Seattle jazz record label Origin as teaching him important lessons of the trade.

Getting that work done makes the artistic side of Daniel's world a lot more fun. It surely comes though in his playing. I asked how he expresses his own personality in his music, and Daniel told us that "the most important thing is authenticity. No matter what style you're playing, how you're expressing yourself, as long as you believe in it and are passionate about it, that's going to translate."

When the fun of playing isn't so easily available, Daniel leans on his fellow musician friends. "A lot of us can feel the 'imposter syndrome' — that belief that you're not quite there. It's nice to have that community around, getting together to play music, making you feel great about life."

Daniel's filled calendar of performances include some opportunities to jam with new comers and visitors, though he explained that there is an important etiquette to sitting in with a band. Listen to the full session for Daniel's amazing (and slightly embarrassing) story of telling a trumpeter he wasn't welcome on stage, later realizing it was one of the biggest stars in jazz.

Building connections to this jazz community has been this saxman's key to success. Occaisional work as an educator keeps Daniel close to the next generation of jazz musicians, as he fondly recalls Seattle musicians like Marc Seales and the late Don Lanphere as inspirations who nurtured his early efforts in jazz.

In the end, in the KNKX studios, we were treated to a lot of fun, and a lot of personality. Peter Daniel's band rocked through a set of tunes by Northwest musicians, funky and smart numbers from Lucky Brown and Kate Olson concluded with Daniel's own "Peanut Butter Monster Jam." Come along for the fun!

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.