After nearly 50 years of recognition as one of the consummate sidemen on the adventurous music scene – with remarkable artists like Sam Rivers, Carla Bley, Gil Evans, Charlie Haden, Muhal Richard Abrams, Taj Mahal and so many more – Joseph Daley has emerged as one of Jazz’ and contemporary music’s most extraordinary composers and leaders. Stunning musicians and fans alike with his brilliant 2011 CD, The Seven Deadly Sins, featuring his Earth Tones Ensemble (a full Jazz orchestra augmented by six additional low-tone horns, and including a seven-member rhythm section and four special guests), this powerfully innovative music mines the same rich vein of musical expression as that of immortals like Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington and George Russell, receiving rave reviews and making several Best of Year lists. In 2013 he followed up with The Seven Heavenly Virtues, then in 2014 Portraits: Wind, Thunder and Love which includes the five movement suite Wispercussion: Five Portraits of Warren Smith – both featuring string orchestras.
Drawing the attention of a number of prominent educators and university programs, since 2018 Joseph has become an in-demand and highly compelling educator, providing activities at various institutions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Washington, as well as a residency at Dartmouth College resulting in a performance of selections from The Seven Deadly Sins project. Plans for extended residencies are in motion for the future, including a week-long residency that will take place at Seattle Pacific University in January 2020, culminating in a full concert performance of The Seven Deadly Sins. Plans are also in place to repackage both Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues into a single CD entitled Sins and Virtues on his Jodamusic label in fall of 2019
In addition to his orchestral endeavors, Joseph is developing a significant reputation as a leader of smaller ensembles. In 2015, The Tuba Trio Chronicles – dedicated to his long time friend and mentor Sam Rivers, in whose Tuba Trio he performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe during the ‘70s and ‘80s – was released to high acclaim, and when time allowed three years later the ensemble toured in more than 15 U.S. cities in the spring of 2018. Joseph is also focused upon developing a series of life celebration projects dedicated to his late wife Wanda Daley, in which Joseph will use both his Tuba Trio Rituals Ensemble and Earth Tones Ensemble to realize this musical quest.
Joseph is also currently a member of the highly eclectic ensemble Hazmat Modine, under the direction of musician and visual artist Wade Schuman. It was Schuman’s paintings that helped inspire the creation of Daley’s Seven Deadly Sins project, which was developed at the MacDowell Colony in 2001.
Whether performing with his large ensemble; with his evocative Ebony Brass Quintet, his stunning World-music influenced Rituals Ensemble, the Tuba Trio or in sparer solo, or duo contexts; sheer musicality, deeply-hewn emotion and jubilant innovation are always at the core of Joseph’s most singular musical expression. Best known for playing the tuba, Joseph also plays euphonium, trombone and piano; but these days his growing reputation as a visionary composer is bringing him worldwide acclaim.
Born in New York City’s Harlem, Joseph began his musical studies in elementary school and received high honors and recognition throughout his school years (including the renowned High School of Music and Art), and was a member of the most prestigious ensembles in the New York City school system. During his high school years, he began performing on the Latin music scene – well-known as one of the most powerful foundations of higher musical learning – performing alongside such fine musicians as Rene McLean, Monquito Santamaria, Andy Gonzalez, Jerry Gonzalez, Alex Blake and many others.
A scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music resulted in his Bachelor’s degree in Performance and a Master’s degree in Music Education and led to a career as an educator in the New York and New Jersey school systems from 1976 until his retirement in 2005. Heavily dedicated to the education of young people to the highest values in musical understanding and expression, Joseph balanced his extensive educational commitments with recording and performing in the ensembles of some of the most provocative musicians on the contemporary jazz scene. In addition to those mentioned above, Joseph contributed heavily to groups led by other major artists including Muhal Richard Abrams, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Jason Hwang and Dave Douglas, and is an original member of Howard Johnson’s groundbreaking tuba ensemble, Gravity. He also produced the latest Gravity CD: Testimony. Joseph has also been a longtime collaborator with the highly respected composer/ethnomusicologist and master of non-Western instruments, Bill Cole – a relationship that is still in bloom.
Summing up the purpose and commitment of Joseph Daley….