by Barry Danielian – reviewed by Chris Mann
Barry Danielian was trained in jazz from an early age and he has
performed with such stellar talents as Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois
Jacquet, Paquito D’Rivera, Branford Marsalis, Eddie Palmieri and
in 1984, he toured widely with world-class Latin bands and began a
series of recordings with such artists as Marc Anthony and Ricky
Martin. Touring stepped
up in 1985 with the first of several tours with Blood, Sweat and
Tears, Paul Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band, Queen Latifah,
and Jon Bon Jovi. Barry started the following decade by touring with Tower of
During the mid-1990s, Barry began to build his reputation as one of
New York City’s most in-demand session players and arrangers, with
more than 200 big-name sessions to his name, including countless film
and TV jingle credits. In
1997, Barry cut down on touring to spend more time with his family.
Nevertheless, he performs regularly on Broadway and in clubs,
while serving on the musical performance faculties at three
universities in the New York City area.
Barry holds a degree in jazz performance from the Berklee College of
Music, where he graduated with the 1982 Faculty Performance Award. In
1984 he was honoured with the University of Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz
Competition's Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award, and in 2000 and 2001
became the only unsigned artist nominated for the Oasis Smooth Jazz
signed to Tariqah records, he has combined his feel for the pulse of
urban music with his spiritual and political sensibilities and
delivered “Common Ground”.
throws you in at the deep end with its funky bass, great chugging
rhythm, lovely splash cymbals, moody trumpet, and jazzy chorus.
It has a great 70’s influenced breakdown and it’s fierce! The title track is very bouncy with amazing drum programming
and a very brassy and sassy opening. The horn sound is very confident
and Eddie Henderson style (remember “Say You Will”?). The rhythm
guitar is very upfront and appealing.
I’m Away is a cool, hi-tech ballad with classy doubled horn
lines and a dramatic John Barry opening.
The funky Khadijah’s Dance has in-the-pocket keyboards
and a real strutting rhythm. There’s
Brecker-style horn pizzazz too.
enjoy the insane bass sound and slow, heavy hip-hop groove on the
melodic Count your Blessings. The rhythm guitar is strong in
this sparsely-arranged tune. First
Treasure has lovely ethereal percussion and keys.
Combine these with that dreamy flugelhorn and a convincing
string synth sound, and you have a song that’s both gentle and
tight for Preconceived Notions. It’s got chirping crickets
and chopped-up vibes. It
has wisps of sampled vocals, busy hip-hop rhythm and funky bass. In my rough notes (which sometimes give lots away about how
the music really makes me feel) I wrote: “If you like the
Breckers’ “Big Idea”, you’ll like this stuff”.
I stand by that. The
melodic My Brothers Keeper has a strong male vocal.
The scratch samples and busy electronic rhythm contrast with
the very gentle flugelhorn lines.
It’s a catchy song with a great hook.
What a title – what a song!!
Scratch samples and percussion kick it all off. The tight bass
guitar chords and that very low synth bass will make you dance your
socks off. Everything fits together like a jigsaw – the chorus is
lovely with great spacey keyboard sounds. My notes for this one? “This
HURTS!!! Too much funk!” I’d
say this is my favourite tune on the CD. There’s an old-skool feel to Keep On Keepin’ On
with its snazzy brass and sneaky bassline.
With Danielian’s cuddly trumpet over the top, it’s lovely
intro to Righteous Indignation is very atmospheric and leads
into a kind of bizarre slow march with a broken drum pattern, overlaid
with sound effects. The
bassline, where you can pick one out, is menacing.
I’ll leave it to you to place an interpretation on this song
– I have found my own interpretation more unsettling each time
I’ve heard it. Facing
East has some of the atmosphere of Incognito’s awesome
“Millennium” but is less intense and becomes discordant towards
album is packed with inventive rhythms and energy and yet there are
moments of calm and some real surprises.
As I listened to this CD and read the liner notes, I was
certain that I had heard Barry’s name before.
Sure enough, he is featured on several of my Spyro Gyra albums
– as a member of the No Sweat Horns, no less.
surprised to have waited so long to hear a CD with him as frontman.
Reading (not too much) between the lines, Barry Danielian is a
thoughtful man with a lot to say.
I look forward to hearing how he uses this strong solo voice in
Tariqah Records – TR-01 Producer
– Barry Danielian