Archive for June 8th, 2021

Dan Siegel – Faraway Place

Dan-Siegel-Faraway-PlaceWhile the coronavirus wreaked havoc to a deadly extreme, the pandemic era with its heightened quarantine measures proved to swing a double-edge sword for musicians. Many were silenced, suffering the liability of limited-to-no opportunities to perform. But on the other hand, the disease aroused many to be creative in their artistic expression. Veteran contemporary jazz pianist/keyboardist Dan Siegel took that difficult challenge during the social distancing desert to remotely assemble a group to deliver his eclectic album Faraway Place on his DSM label. It’s comprised of 11 originals that range from straight-up lyrical beauties to accordion-tinged grooves, to a baroque-like number with strings and horns. Remarkably, this is Siegel’s 22nd recording as a leader.

“This is a different kind of album because of the pandemic,” says the Irvine, California-based composer and bandleader. “After writing the music in isolation, everything, with a few exceptions, was recorded separately by musicians in their home studios.” says Siegel. All of the tracks were demoed and developed rhythmically by drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd at East West Studios in LA. “Those were the only sessions that I was present at,” Siegel says. “They set the music into motion with their drums. Then I sent what they did to the musicians I wanted to use and asked them to lay their parts down. What they sent back was so musical and really well-played. It only required a few modifications. I also went into the studio to record piano, and I rented an accordion for four tunes. I used contrast on the arrangements. They started sparse but then built with layers in the mix, always keeping in mind the song underneath it all. The way I see it is that I’m a composer first and I perform piano second” says Siegel.

Also joining Siegel on the album are saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter/trombonist Lee Thornburg, guitarist Allen Hinds, acoustic bassist Brian Bromberg, electric bassists Abraham Laboriel and Dwyane “Smitty” Smith, percussionist Lenny Castro, and on two tracks Brazilian vocalist Rogerio Jardim. Continue reading