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Saxophonist Peter Daniel embraces variety in a new project of quartet recordings

Saxophonist Peter Daniel's latest quartet release shows off a remarkable band.
Design by Peter Daniel
Music Factory Records
Saxophonist Peter Daniel's latest quartet release shows off a remarkable band.

Peter Daniel is well known for mixing it up. More proof comes from the new release "Miles Around," featuring a dynamite new quartet and promises of more recordings to come.

From leading the 45th Street Brass to co-leading FutureNOT with trombonist Jason Cressey and playing with the new jazz-informed indie rock group mega cat, Peter Daniel feels at home in new settings.

“There are a lot of great friends and players in Seattle and I wanted to create a context to play with a lot of them, so I started a group that intentionally rotated players,” Daniel said.

“Miles Around” features Marina Albero, Marina Christopher and Heather Thomas on Fender Rhodes, bass and drums. A slightly funky bassline merges with the trio as Daniel gets to the point with the song’s catchy theme that's sure to have listeners’ heads nodding to the beat.

Doubled sax lines bring depth to the melody, introducing Daniel’s solo on alto saxophone. A rhythm section break sets the stage for Albero to do her thing on the Rhodes, stretching improvisation with her trademark sense of complicated fun.

Explaining the song’s title, Daniel suggested listening for “half-formed words over part of the melody...that’s where ‘Miles Around’ comes from. See if you can figure out where!”

Daniel offered more compositional clarification, saying the song was “written specifically for the players. It was formed around the bass line that opens the song, and I had Marina (Christopher) in mind when I created it.”

Acknowledging the quartet’s other Marina, Daniel said Albero didn’t “get a lot of information about what I wanted her to play,” but that her immense talent was more than up to the task of putting the right notes and textures where they were needed.

Thomas utilized her jazz-rock background to provide just the right backbeat. Her groove strikes a balance between propulsive modern jazz and funk/rock sensibilities. "She is such a dynamic and musical drummer with a strong voice," Daniel said.

Daniel’s project will continue later this year with four different quartets, including organist Joe Doria, guitarists Andy Coe and R.L. Heyer, and drummers Xavier LeCouturier and Grant Schroff to name a few.

The project’s first single, “Take a Little Chance” from 2023 includes Doria, Schroff and Daniel’s drummer friend Cliff Porter from Reno, Nevada.

The label will release the full album later this year, which also has ties to the Seattle jazz scene, as guitarist Ari Joshua and multi-instrumentalist Matt Jasper’s Music Factory Recordings begins to expand.

The efforts of artists like Daniel in expanding their circle of musical collaborators are part of the jazz tradition, growing the musical abilities of the musicians and the creation of great music.

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third 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.