After nearly 40 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, Taj Mahal and so many more – Joseph Daley stunned musicians and fans alike with his brilliant CD, The Seven Deadly Sins, released in 2011. The album also received rave reviews and made several Best of 2011 lists. Featuring his Earth Tones Ensemble (a full Jazz orchestra augmented by six additional low-toned 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.
Whether performing with his large ensemble; with his evocative Ebony Brass Quintet; or in the sparer solo, duo or trio 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, piano and trombone; 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, 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 was an original member of Howard Johnson’s groundbreaking tuba ensemble, Gravity. He 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 intact.
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 McDowell Colony in 2001.
In addition to his Earth Tones Ensemble, Ebony Brass Quintet, duo and trio collaborations and his solo performances, Joseph’s focus right now is on his next recording project, The Seven Virtues, featuring a large string ensemble. He has also designed an extensive series of educational projects for the university level and will be embarking on a series of residency and performance-based projects starting in the 2020-2021 season.
Summing up the purpose and commitment of Joseph Daley….