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by Daniel Barnes

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Speak Low 06:26
Dark Inside 08:37
Sweet Nights 05:02
Equinox 06:30


This is my debut recording. It made my work a staple at jazz radio in Canada! It's comprised of six original compositions and 5 arrangements of standards employing 15 musicians in all, including Robi Botos, Rich Brown, Kelly Jefferson & Mike Murley.
Stylistically it covers Straight Ahead & Contemporary Jazz, Brazilian, Latin, Rhythm & Blues and Caribbean "vibes". Selections were used in the adventure film "Beyond the Horizon" & on the CD Compilation by JazzFm: New Standards Vol.1


released November 1, 2003

Produced by David Travers Smith & Daniel Barnes
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by David Travers Smith
Recorded at Puck's Farm with overdubs at Found Sound.
Art Direction & Design by Michael Wrycraft
Photography by Geoff George



Daniel Barnes is no new comer to the scene, having toured for periods of time over a ten year span in Europe, U.S., Caribbean and Africa with Ethiopian singing star, Aster Aweke, gigging locally and backing singers such as Holy Cole, Molly Johnson and Carol Welsman, and playing in such diverse musical settings as those provided by Joe Sealy, Jane Bunnett and The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band. This varied background may explain the wide range of music on this CD: Bop, Latin, Reggae and some funky R & B. In spite of such a mixed bag, the album holds together and is consistently rewarding.

“Culmination” features an array of Toronto talent, fourteen musicians in all, although never more than seven on any one number and sometimes as few as three, in a varied and interesting programme consisting of Barnes’ own compositions and standards ranging from Coltrane’s Equinox to an updated version of After You’ve Gone written by John Turner Layton and Henry Creamer in 1918. Five O’ Clock Shadow is the opener and I almost resisted the temptation to say it grows on you!

Strong solos by the horns of William Carn, Kevin Turcotte and Kelly Jefferson and a catchy theme set the tone. There is also a healthy dose of Mike Murley on the album and that never ever hurt anybody, while on piano Robert Botos adds a sure touch, displaying maturity beyond his years. But this is definitely a Daniel Barnes showcase, both as a drummer and a composer/arranger.


Over the years there have been many jazz drummers who have become bandleaders. From Chick Webb through Art Blakey, drummers have lead great bands and made fine recordings. Daniel Barnes is no different. The great thing about a CD released by a jazz drummer, is that you know that you are in for tunes with a clear sense of rhythm. Great drummers seduce you into the groove. Barnes' Cd opens with a catchy number called "Five O' clock Shadow", a steady neo bop soul jazz tune that is a Barnes original. In fact, six of the album's eleven tunes are written by Barnes. There is lots of room here for the sidemen to stretch out and strut.

What makes the music so dynamic is its great drumming, that is both unobtrusive, yet essential. But make no mistake, this is modern jazz. The horn parts are not always sweet. They reflect the feel of the modern age. The music alternates between moving ahead, feeling good and slightly off centre sound, where you have to listen carefully not to fall off the path.

The beauty in this music is the way Barnes and his sidemen have balanced out the overall sound of the album. That nice jazz samba beat just drops in at the right times to give you that "everything is fine" vibe, such as on the fourth tune, "Sweet Nights". This is followed by "Call of the Wild", a classic neo bop tune, that contains impressive soloing by Mike Murley. By balancing the album in this way, they keep your interest piqued.

The standards recorded for the session are done with verve and excitement. The trombone solo on Sonny Rollin's "Alfie's Theme", here renamed "Alfie's Dub, is counter pointed wonderfully by the reggae inspired bass and percussion. The magnificent rolling sound you can get with a 'bone is put to good use on the album, particularly on the Barnes' original "Blues for the Wicket". In addition to William Carn's trombone playing on this tune, it also features Kevin Turcotte on trumpet.

Daniel Barnes who comes from a musical family, plays one of his parent's favourite musical love songs, "That Old Devil Moon". This old standard is in 11/4 time and has been a favourite of mine since I saw a high school production of "Finnean's Rainbow" as a child. Despite the tunes sweetness, it is performed with an exploratory attitude, without straying beyond what your average jazz fan, if there is such a thing, can hear. Meanwhile you are being saturated with Daniel Barnes' superb playing and technique.

If this CD reflects Barnes' culmination, then he is very accomplished indeed for a man making his debut as a recording leader. This recording is an important statement by a very fine Canadian musician. I hope Culmination will be heard and subsequently bought by many jazz fans, for it is a striking recording.


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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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