About Dan Loomis
A fresh presence on the New York music scene, Dan Loomis has quickly become one the most in-demand bassists of his generation. Called “a forceful and creative bass player” (Cadence) “double-teaming you with style and substance” (All About Jazz), Dan has created a stir with both his powerful bass playing and his vision as a composer/bandleader. Dan tours extensively through the US, Canada and Europe with his groups The Dan Loomis Quartet (DLQ), The Wee Trio, Spoke, and as a sideman with wildly diverse ensembles including the TS Monk Sextet, winning new audiences and bringing enthusiastic praise from critics.
Dan’s musical roots lie in the historic jazz town of Saint Louis, Missouri. Under the guidance of early mentors Reggie Thomas and Tom Kennedy and through extensive playing experience on the local scene, Dan learned the fundamental importance of groove and sound and came away with the firm commitment to music-making that reaches people on a heart level. He went on for a period of intense study at the renowned Eastman School of Music. By then his playing was already receiving national attention; Downbeat magazine selected The Very Tall Band, made up of Dan and his Eastman compatriots, as Best Collegiate Small Ensemble. Dan hand-picked a chord-less quartet composed of two saxophones, bass and drums from that ensemble to form the Dan Loomis Quartet, which would record his first album, Tondos.
His second album with the DLQ, I Love Paris, marked Dan’s arrival in New York, and it earned him quite a welcome, called ‘one the top new releases of 2007’ by the noted jazz historian Scott Yanow. This group toured US extensively for much of 2006 and 2007. At the same time Dan kept quite busy as a sideman in New York. His large and growing discography includes styles ranging from jazz to indie-pop to eastern-European-improv music to post-punk. He has been active with a large number of projects including the TS Monk Sextet/Tentet, the Ernesto Cervini Quartet with Joel Frahm, Benny Reid’s Findings, the Erica VonKleist Quintet, The Dave Bixler Quintet, the Jay Collins Trio, The Ben Holmes Trio, the Rudy Linka Trio, The Sultans of Swing and The Belly of a Drunken Piano. His work as a sideman has seen him performing in New York’s most prestigious venues including The Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Birdland, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has also toured extensively though the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, the United Kingdom and throughout the United States.
Dan reformed his quartet in 2009 with a hand-picked and gently-rotating cast of New York’s most exciting young improvisers. Together they have honed a new crop of compositions due for recording on Aleatoric Logic in 2012. Also during this time, Dan also received two commissions from St. Peter’s church to compose liturgical song-cycles for his quartet plus two jazz vocalists. He took the opportunity to explore some the stickier themes in Christian tradition, composing ‘The Unfathomable Misery of Being’, a work cycle based on the book of Job and ‘Plea to Be Passed Over’, a song-cycle based on Jesus’s sense of duty approaching his death.
Dan co-leads two collaborative groups that serve as an outlet for his visions as a composer and performer. S P O K E, with trombonist Andy Hunter, alto saxophonist Justin Wood and drummer Danny Fischer, features some of the most inspired, adventurous improvisers of the new generation of jazz coming together to create a sound that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Their self-titled debut earned serious praise, being called ‘one of the most inventive records we’ve heard all year’ (HotHouse). The Wee Trio – with vibraphonist James Westfall and drummer Jared Schonig – created a sonic landscape all their own with their debut album, ‘Capitol Diner, Vol. 1’. The album made an immediate stir with the press, who called The Wee Trio “definitely a group to watch” (Downbeat) and said “the trio puts forth a compelling case that they are the ambassadors of the genre’s future” (Saratogian). In 2010, The Wee Trio’s second album, ‘Capitol Diner, Vol. 2, Animal Style’, again made a big splash. Jazztimes called it ““Refreshing . . . no one-note jam band . . . intelligent, highly interactive tracks . . . “ and the band was dubbed “the worlds most vicious vibes-led threesome”(SomethingElse). As glowing as the praise from critics was, fans react even more enthusiastically as the trio played to rapt audiences from Los Angeles to New Orleans to Philadelphia to Chicago to New York.
Upcoming projects include the new album from Spoke entitled Succint, the new Wee Trio release, Ashes to Ashes: A David Bowie Intraspective, and a recording of the ‘Unfathomable Misery of Being’ with the DLQ plus Voices.
“Refreshing...intelligent, highly interactive tracks . . . “ –JazzTimes “How exciting, you might ask, can a vibes/bass/drum trio be? Well listen to these three and you’ll find out.” – The Buffalo News
The Wee Trio burst onto scene with Capitol Diner Vol. 1, winning HUge international acclaim and being picked for the Top Ten CDs of ’08 by The San Francisco Chronicle, Boston’s Patriot Ledger and All About Jazz. The same year, the brooklyn-born band became ‘bi-coastal’, with James returning to the New Orleans to pioneer the post-Katrina Musicians’ Village. The group toured extensively, playing across the US at venues and festivals such as Snug Harbor, Jazz at the Bistro, the Harrisburg Jazz Festival, Rochester’s MCC Jazz Festival and the Jazz Bakery. In 2010 the release of Capitol Diner, Vol. 2: Animal Style, an exciting evolution of the trios sound inspired by their travels, brought a fresh round of excitement and praise from critics and fans alike.
“The Wee Trio have found a unique slant, not only in their vibes/bass/drums instrumentation but in their lyrical songwriting and flowing interaction.” – The Philly Daily News
“grabs the listener by the lapels and yanks - hard.”– Allaboutjazz.com
At a recent appearance at the Red Hook Jazz Festival in Brooklyn the trio unveiled their most intriguing project to date: a marriage of their distinct sound to the music of the iconic David Bowie. January 2012 will see the release of the album Ashes to Ashes: A David Bowie INTRAspective. Tour dates in the winter and spring 20012 take the trio around the USA and Canada.
“The trio puts forth a compelling case that they are the ambassadors of the genre’s future.” – The Saratogian
Brooklyn, NY-based ensemble SPOKE has recently returned from a fall US tour in support of their new Envoi Records release, Succinct. Their travels took them from Brooklyn to the far reaches of Wyoming and most of the places in between! During the past six years of performing together, Spoke has electrified audiences everywhere they have traveled to, and earned critical praise for their 2009 debut release, Spoke.
Comprised of bassist Dan Loomis, saxophonist Justin Wood, trombonist Andy Hunter, and drummer Danny Fischer, Spoke draws strength and integrity from the point where its members unite. The formative philosophy for Spoke lies in the union of musicians distinguished not merely by their virtuosity and musical experience, but by a unique emphasis on composition and group interplay. Through years of performing together, the ensemble has arrived at a deep level of anticipation and musical synergy on stage. To be present at one of their performances is to embark upon a truly captivating musical journey. And most of all, they impart and share the joy and fun woven integrally into their music and friendship.
In the last year alone, the members of SPOKE have performed at major festivals and venues on every continent except Antarctica, including such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Ghana, India, Japan, Martinique, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Senegal, and Spain, along with such diverse artists as T.S. Monk, Dave Holland, the Mingus Big Band, Richard Bona, and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra just to name a few.