Thursday, May 30 2024

Seattle Saxophonist sensation Peter Daniel releases the second single from his ‘Quartets’ project, through Music Factory Records. Featuring Marina Christopher Bass, Marina Albero on Fender Rhodes and Heather Thomas on Drums, ‘Miles Around’, is a playfully and effortlessly cool track featuring a groove so hard you could walk on it and the kind of bass lines you’ll be hearing sampled and under pinning hip-hop jams for years to come.

To say I was sceptical when this landed at TIG HQ, would be an understatement. I love jazz, but jazz isn’t like other music. Jazz is unique. It’s not about conventional structures per se; it’s the dynamic interplay between all elements that creates a living and breathing entity. It’s musical symbiosis, if you will. And when all elements are firing, magic happens. It’s bottled ambrosia. The elixir of the Gods. At least those of jazz, in any case.

I’m going to cut to the chase; I love this piece. The development of ideas is phenomenal, the breakdown runs are fantastic and the way it opens up, from a solid ‘pocket-watch groove’ where the hi-hats are hitting 16ths giving you that ‘tick-tock’ feel, to a more dynamic, syncopated, yet open vibe is incredible. Heather’s playing has an open-handed, almost Billy Cobham quality and her telepathic connection with Marina’s modulating ostinato’s on bass, gives the piece some incredible moments.

Every time I hear a Fender Rhodes two things spring to mind, ‘Head Hunter’s’ by Herbie Hancock and Lalo Schifrin’s soundtrack to ‘Dirty Harry.’ Both incredible in their own right and to me, Marina Albero’s Rhodes work on ‘Miles Around’ is as good as I’ve heard for some time; it’s worthy of Herbie himself. 

The beauty of ‘Miles Around’ is that with the bass and drums so tightly locked in, the Rhodes and Sax have artistic license to flex their considerable muscle and in Peter Daniel’s case you get the warmth of Stan Getz and the virtuosity of Charlie Parker. That’s not to discount his ability to create some memorable hooks and counterpoint. The guy can play. There are some genuinely cool and interesting interactions that develop, between sax and Rhodes; from sweeping glissando to the mesmeric juxtaposition of staccato sax and off-beat Rhodes accents creating a truly stereophonic and immersive experience. Highlights for me are the call and response between the two instruments, which created an almost vocal interaction.

PETER-DANEIL-1.jpg

At times, you almost forget you’re listening to a fully formed piece of music, it’s almost like you’re party to the intimate conversations between percussive elements and instruments; and that’s what jazz should be. Good jazz. Jazz that doesn’t challenge, but wears it’s influences on its sleeve and takes you on a journey. I could listen to this piece a thousand times; as I have with ‘Head Hunters’, with ‘Bitch’s Brew,’ and, still pull something new out of it. It’s just so good.

I feel I have to mention the mix and overall production, because that often gets overlooked and it’s that which creates something special. Jason Gray and Blake Bickel have created a spacious and full mix, with such good balance, you’d swear it was live, until you hear the Sax overdubs – which create some beautiful harmonies. I know jazz isn’t for everybody, but please listen to this, it could well be the prefect introduction to a sonic plateau, that opens up a whole different world to you. Peter Daniel, Marina Albero, Heather Thomas and Marina Christopher have created something that’s inclusive, engaging and downright entertaining, without any sense of self-indulgence, nor pomposity. This is jazz at it’s best; mastery of instruments and an almost conversational air. I love it; it’s elegant, it’s cool as hell and to quote Louis Balfour from ‘Jazz Club’, “Niiiiiiicccce.”

Website / Facebook / Twitter (X) / Spotify Instagram / YouTube

Review

Summary

So good it could have been lifted off Herbie Hancock’s ‘Head Hunters.’ Peter Daniel and company… we salute you.
92%
Great

Rating

Song Quality
Instrumentation
Production

Previous

'Sleep Patterns Repeating' By Camens: The Next Big Indie Sensation?

Next

Exploring the Soul of 'Spinning North': An Interview with Tano Jones

About Author

Gareth Johnston

Gareth Johnston is a Lancashire based musician and producer who studied music at MMU. He is a former reviewer for 'Glitzine' and when not writing for 'The Indie Grid' can be found restoring old furniture whilst listening to obscure alt-rock. He has too many favourite bands to pick one and insists it's easier to pick a favourite child.

Check Also