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Classic Beauties

by Daniel Barnes

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Short Bop 04:20
Ogopogo 10:47


Classic Beauties draws on the rich mainstream tradition that generations of jazz lovers turn to for spiritual uplift, a good time, to gain musical knowledge and to hear stories "the greats" have told through their instruments. These tunes are written by Daniel Barnes and performed by developing legends.


released November 1, 2007

Produced by Daniel Barnes
Recorded & Mixed by Keith Mariash
Recorded at Phase One Audio Group
Mastered by George Seara
Photography by Geoff George
Package Design by Backyard Design
All Compositions by Daniel Barnes
Thank you Ontario Arts Council for supporting the creation of these compositions.
Drums - Daniel Barnes
Acoustic Bass - Kieran Overs
Piano - Robi Botos
Trumpet - William Sperandei
Alto Saxophone - Richard Underhill



In his sophomore follow to his successful debut disc Culmination, drummer Barnes plus ace recruits put a swinging spin on eight original tunes that roam bebop and contemporary mainstream territory. With sparkling support from pianist Robi Botos, trumpeter William Sperandei (notably on the elegant ballad "Don't Push My love Aside"), alto saxist Richard Underhill and bass mate Kieran Overs, the busy Barnes compositions specializse in relentlesly thrusting music of broad appeal and warmth that give bandsmen broad latitude to wail, as on "FJD", without indulging in frenzy. Top track: The lengthy "Ogopogo" with its tireless improv, shape shifting and evocative passages.


Harkening back to the classic West Coast jazz style of the 1950s and 60s, the music on Classic Beauties, led by Toronto drummer/composer Daniel Barnes, is reminiscent of legendary artists such as Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Shelley Mann. Barnes has assembled a first-rate quintet of adventurous and swinging Canadian musicians: alto saxophonist Richard Underhill, trumpeter William Sperandei, pianist Robi Botos and bassist Kieran Overs.
Barnes, an award-winning drummer in Canada, maintains an unrelenting, swinging drive throughout the session. His musical emphasis, however, is on the ensemble, with individual displays of virtuosity serving the needs of each piece. As a composer, Barnes seems to find his voice when he departs from the confines of past traditions. While the nostalgia of “Short Bop” and “Mademoiselle Fuller” are lively and endearing, itʼs the more contemporary-laced tracks like “FJD,” “Ogopogo” and “Donʼt Push My Love Aside” that bring out Barnesʼ personalized approach.
Led by the dynamic front line of Underhill and Sperandei, the disc is full of memorable solos. Sperandei maneuvers his trumpet through a highly diverse journey of haunting lyricism (“Donʼt Push My Love Aside”) and tightly-woven bop runs (“Short Bop” and “Another Short Bop”). Underhillʼs approach on the alto saxophone is also varying and stylistically diverse. He seems equally comfortable exploring edgy bursts of energy (“Ogopogo”) and laid-back finesse (“Gently Through the Night”). Botos and Overs, along with Barnes, comprise a slick, versatile rhythm section. Botos displays mastery of the hard-bop style in his comping and soloing. His sweltering eighth note runs on “You and the Night Music” and “Ogopogo” are wonderfully executed. Overs is a veteran Canadian bassist, and band leader in his own right, who has a meaty sound entrenched in the hard-swinging tradition of fellow Toronto bass legends Dave Young and Neil Swainson. His rough-and- tumble workout on “FJD” adds a spicy kick to the Cajun-flavored romp.
Toronto has always been a fertile breeding ground for world class jazz talent. The musicians on Classic Beauties are no exception. Barnes is a leader who has the potential to attract a large audience while staying true to his artistic vision. Hopefully, this engaging disc will find its way south of the Canadian border and beyond.


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Daniel Barnes Toronto, Ontario

Both of my CDs have become staples at jazz radio in Canada. “Culmination” is stylistically broad "yet consistently rewarding" while
"Classic Beauties" focus' on main stream acoustic with diversions into New Orleans Funk & Odd Meter & Free playing. As a support drummer I've backed much Canadian & visiting American jazz talent as well as Ethiopian stars Ms. Aster Aweke & Mahmoud Ahmed!
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