Under the Spell of the Low-Pitched Tones
This band is truly well grounded – the tones that dominate its music seem to come from the deepest depths of the earth, which is the reason Joseph Daley called his big band “The Earth Tones Ensemble”. He was interested in using the rich colours of the earth as an inspiration for the orchestral textures used in his compositions.
The line-up accordingly includes a large number of instruments in the area of the deepest basses, and the band leader quite deliberately has them play into the very lowest registers possible. “I wanted to make the timbres of the low-pitched instruments the core of my composition, and wanted the other instruments to be able to rest on those deep tones”,
Joseph Daley is himself a “low brass specialist”, plays the euphonium, trombone
and tuba, a native of New York. He has worked, toured and recorded with many of
the members of this ensemble. When he asked them to be part of the unusual Earth
Tones Ensemble project, they all agreed: Howard Johnson and Scott Robinson, played
bass giants rarely seen and heard, for example, the contrabass clarinet, the contrabass
saxophone and the bass sarrusophone. (a bass instrument developed in the nineteenth
century by Frenchman Pierre-Auguste Sarrus and akin to the saxophone). The
appearance of these colossi alone is impressive, to say nothing of their sound, next to
them the tuba, euphonium and bass trombone played by Bob Stewart, Joseph Daley
and Earl McIntrye appear small.
But not just the deep bass instrumentalists accompanied Daley into the studio. The
names of the other musicians – Marty Ehrlich, Lou Soloff, Stanton Davis, Gary Valente,
Vincent Chancey, to name just a few reads like a Who’s Who of American jazz. It really
is an illustrious twenty-five member big band Daley rounded up for his compositions.
He has a fabulous team at his disposal, and he says, “I wanted to have instrumental
voices that are unique, but also characterized by strong spiritual sublimity.”
Without exception, they are musicians Daley knows well, musicians whose special
style and technique he is familiar with, and he was accordingly able to tailor his music
to each of them, a circumstance to which every note testifies. Daley was interested in them as outstanding musicians but more importantly “that they’re first-class listeners”, who were able to perceive what’s going on around them and draw musical conclusions from it.
But who is Joseph Daley? Many jazz fans are likely to own one album or more CDs on which he is responsible
for the bass foundation. Born in Harlem in 1949, Daley received his training at the Manhattan School of Music and has played in many of the trend-setting large formations since the early seventies: the Gil Evans Orchestra, the Carla Bley Band, Sam Rivers Rivbea Orchestra, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, etc.
One of the first stops along his way was the brass section of the Taj Mahal Tuba band, where he along with Howard Johnson, Bob Stewart and Earl McIntyre was responsible for the weighty bass groove. Taj Mahal recruited the members of the tuba band from the innovative six tuba ensemble called Gravity which was under the leadership of the great Howard Johnson. This ensemble likewise devoted to the deep registers, and to which
Joseph naturally belonged. The list of prime jazz addresses where Daley has been at home goes on and on.
Daley is currently a member of one of the most interesting bands coming out of New York – Hazmat Modine, an ensemble which defies all stylistic classification because it impetuously mingles blues, klezmer, Balkanbeats, jazz and rock. The head of Hazmat Modine, singer, guitarist and harmonica player Wade Schuman, in turn played a central role in the creation of Joseph Daley’s composition The Seven Deadly Sins. Apart from being a musician, Schuman is first and foremost a visual artist, and has painted a cycle on “The Seven Deadly Sins” which Daley has translated into sound.
The title of Daley’s second composition Ballade of the Fallen African Warrior is reminiscent of the Liberation Music Orchestra’s 1983 album “The Ballad of the Fallen”, but there is no musical relationship between the two. Joseph Daley wrote his ballade in memory of his deceased brother Winston.........................Christian Emigholz
Earth Tones Orchestra
Joseph Daley…Composer, Conductor, Euphonium, Tuba
Marty Ehrlich…....Soprano, Jimmy Cozier……Alto
Bill Saxton…….…Tenor, Bob DeBellis……..Tenor
Howard Johnson…Baritone Sax, Contrabass Clarinet, Tuba
Scott Robinson…...Bass Saxophone, Sarrusophone, Contrabass Bass
Lew Soloff, Stanton Davis, Eddie Allen, Reginald Pittman, Stephen Haynes
Vincent Chancey, Mark Taylor
Gary Valente, Alfred Patterson, Craig Harris
Earl McIntyre…Bass Trombone, Tuba
Benjamin Brown….Contrabass, Electric Bass, Tuba
Onaje Allan Gumbs……………Piano
Warren Smith….…..Vibraphone, Marimba, and Percussion
Buddy Williams……Drum Set, Percussion
Satoshi Takeishi……Asian Drum Kit, Percussion
Beaver Bausch……...Timbales, Percussion