The Music of Loren Daniels

‘”The fabulous ‘Ticket To Ride’, perhaps the finest recorded showcase for the multi-talented Loren Daniels to date, evokes the coming together of the Beatles and creative jazz, shedding new light on the songs of Lennon and McCartney.”

Anne Carlini, Exclusive Magazine






Ticket to Ride CD Cover

NEW!  Released November 2022


Loren Daniels

“Not since the recently departed Ramsey Lewis has a pianist and keyboardist so impactfully, artfully and imaginatively captured the jazzy possibilities of the Beatles catalog as veteran East Coast performer and educator Loren Daniels….The greatest joys of jazzin’ up the Beatles is creating that careful balance of presenting the familiar joys of these timeless melodies, then using them as springboards for ‘tickets to ride’ that have never been punched before. … It’s only one album (so far!) but I can see Daniels setting the standards for what “Beatle Jazz” should sound like in the coming years.
— Jonathan Widran, The JW Vibe – Music That Sitcks to My Soul

In Jazz, every song can be a “Ticket To Ride a chance to take flight in spontaneous improvisation. The title of this project, “Ticket To Ride”, invokes the coming together of the music of the Beatles and the creative essence of jazz. In some ways, this project has been part of me since I began doing music. The Beatles’ music has always inspired me and was one of the first things that moved me towards a life in music. As I evolved as a musician, it seemed natural to me that the music of the Beatles would always inform my musical journey.

Popular and familiar songs are often used as springboards for innovation in jazz. I began imagining the Beatles music in new ways — frameworks for improvisation that also respected the essential beauty of the originals. This wasn’t really a conscious thought process; it was more a musical
exploration — sonic moments that happened, percolated, evolved and transformed along the way. Absorbing this music that was so deeply a part of me, playing it and hearing it in new ways is what this project is all about.

Loren Daniels – Piano / Vocal
Belden Bullock – Bass
Jonathon Peretz – Drums
Reggie Pittman – Flugelhorn

It’s the late 1960s and the whole culture is hanging on every word, every breath, every note of music by The Beatles. 

In my hometown, there was a great band that played some of the most challenging and beautiful music of that time, including music by The Beatles. This band featured a keyboardist/vocalist named Loren Daniels, and as an aspiring pianist myself, I found myself transfixed with his playing and his incredible musicianship. I felt I had to get to know more about him, and so we ended up meeting by chance and he taught me about how to approach keyboards and music in general. I’ll always be grateful for his kindness and generosity towards me during that time.

Flash forward 50 years or so, and here we are with Loren’s latest release, a collection of his unique and fantastic re-arrangements of classic songs by The Beatles. It is notable that the collection is not necessarily the songs we expect or those that were the biggest hits at the time, but instead it’s those pieces that he felt were most suitable for this kind of treatment. Not surprisingly, the group breathes tremendous life and creativity into these masterpieces, adding harmonic twists and textures more suited to a jazz presentation than anything The Beatles likely imagined.

The production style is modern and yet also evocative of the spirit of the times from which the songs are drawn. A variety of keyboard textures appear including acoustic and electric pianos, organs, and the melodica, which is a great wind instrument that plays like a keyboard but sounds a bit like a harmonica. The background vocals are sophisticated, clear, and always very supportive of the story. For me, it’s a real treat to hear my old pal singing so wonderfully and with such great spirit and enthusiasm.

High praise is due to the entire ensemble — the playing and interpretations are fantastic. Belden Bullock on acoustic bass and Jon JP Peretz on drums contribute beautiful and sensitive counterpoint to Loren’s evolving keyboard textures. Together, they pull together a cohesive and flowing presentation with dynamics and great groove. The whole production is uplifting and cool. 

We got to come together! Sit back and enjoy!

Richard Hilton — keyboardist / arranger / recording engineer with Chic / Nile Rodgers

When we began recording these tracks, I originally conceived them in a vocal jazz piano trio setting. In the middle of the project, the COVID-19 pandemic happened — and changed everything. For this project, it really was a blessing in disguise. With other parts of life on hiatus, I had the time, energy and creative space to hear, experiment with, arrange and produce a fully realized version of this project. New sounds emerged: multi-tracked background vocal harmonies, Hammond B3 pads, growls and sweetenings, vocal percussion sections, multi-tracked vocal improvisations, flugelhorn solos and obligatos, melodica solos and obligatos. What was already a solidly grooving session became enhanced — richer, deeper and juicier!

Working with a recording engineer like Dave Kowalski is an immeasurable joy! Dave knows the way you want something to sound BEFORE you do — he brings Grammy-winning expertise and musicality to every project. When I began to experiment with vocal harmonies, percussion and different instrumentation, Dave gave “Ticket To Ride” his wisdom, musicality, collaborative spirit and his “ears” and years of experience. Thank you for helping me make all the “what-ifs” into the “real deal” — you are the man, Dave!

The sound, groove and feel of “Ticket To Ride” owes so much the incredibly creative and masterful rhythm section of Belden Bullock on bass and Jonathon “JP” Peretz on drums. Belden and Jonathon took my musical sketches and fleshed them out with musical wisdom, energy and experience. Their creative and empathic musical contributions can’t be overstated — thank you, my brothers!

Reggie Pittman plays with such warmth, beauty and sensitivity on every project — he truly brings the perfect vibe and sound to the flugelhorn work on “I’ll Follow The Sun”. From the first time we played together, Reggie and I have shared a deep musical bond — thank you, my brother, for being a part of this project! Teaneck Sound Studio has been the perfect place to realize “Ticket To Ride! Thanks Andrea Valentini for the incredible space in which to create!

Susan Daniels created the vibrant, intricate and incredibly beautiful fiber art piece that is the cover art for Ticket To Ride. Her creativity and ingenuity fill our lives and constantly inspire me — Susan, you are amazing! Karin Greene designed the CD package and booklet. She gathered and arranged all photos and text into an elegant package that clearly and beautifully presents the story of Ticket To Ride — Thank you, Karin! Jeff Collier and Joe Damone took the photographs for Ticket To Ride. Their eye for composition and nuance enhance and illuminate the pieces that adorn Ticket To Ride – Thank you Jeff and Joe!

The thoughtful liner notes were written by Richard Hilton — keyboardist, arranger and engineer with Chic. Rich knows me from “back in the day” — his words capture the essence of this project — thanks, my brother, for your support and friendship!

Preview song selections from Ticket to Ride

This is a good place for this
album to jump off! We “boogaloo”
on this with solos that swagger
and some greasy B3 seasonings —
you don’t even need hot sauce!

This Ticket To Ride takes the opening guitar lick and stretches it out on a 6 over 4 pulse. It’s a mash-up of influences: the original, McCoy Tyner-esque quartal harmony and Take 6-like vocal backgrounds. There’s plenty of room for the whole band to take a “ride”!

The Fender-Rhodes suitcase electric piano sound became the inspiration for the intro of I’m Only Sleeping – a little in-the-moment magic! We fleshed this out into a languid, funky and intriguing feel with lots of space for improvisation!

Aaron Copland meets Miles Davis meets Joe Cocker meets the Beatles —  that’s how I’d describe this version of With A Little Help From My Friends. This iconic song is approached in a fresh and respectful way — new sonics that acknowledge and embroider what came before.

In For No One, Paul McCartney captures the aching quality of an ending romance. Beautiful and evocative, it is a haunting picture of heartbreak and melancholy — a masterpiece! In this take, the tempo is slowed way down and new luxurious harmonies and vocal backgrounds enhance the melody.

A vocal percussion ensemble opens Eight Days A Week and brings it into the 5/4 groove that continues throughout. New chord changes, stretched out form, vocal harmonies underpin this version of the tune.

Come Together is a John Lennon song that reminds me of great free jazz improvising: bold, fanciful, unique, fearless, hallucinatory, surreal. The signature bass line morphs through new harmonies, the Rhodes and bass solo over new form — we all come together on this track!

Blackbird is a beautiful, soulful and iconic song. Its pastoral folk guitar setting disguises its lyric intent: a reflection on the hardships black women (“birds” in Britspeak) faced in Jim Crow America. Reimagining Blackbird as a jazz vehicle, we used an Afro-Cuban-Brazilian 6/8 pulse to propel the altered chord changes.

A gentle tune that wistfully states the regret of an unrequited love, I’ll Follow The Sun is given a unique treatment: Bossa Nova inflected electric piano and layered vocal percussion support the vocals. Reggie Pittman tastefully embroiders the piece with gorgeous flugelhorn musings.

You Can’t Do That was originally a dance oriented rocker with plenty of cowbell! It transforms into a greasy swinging shuffle with jazzified changes. There’s plenty of swagger here – vocal attitude, a “testifying” section and the B3 helps bring it all back home!







The Reggie Pittman / Loren Daniels Quartet

The greatly anticipated second release from a group described as  “…a swinging, tight and vibrant band, rooted deeply in the bop tradition.”
— Ken Franckling, Jazz Notes

“Smilessence” is a deeply grooving session from beginning to end! Each member of the quartet (Reggie Pittman – trumpet/flugelhorn, Loren Daniels – piano/elec. piano/organ, Mike Richmond – bass, Jonathon Peretz – drums) shines throughout this recording. This “working band” of seasoned jazz performers digs in and delivers the “goods” on the great variety of rhythmic feels that comprise “Smilessence”. From up tempo burners to funk, reggae, calypso and ballads, the 11 original compositions and arrangements by Daniels and Pittman grab your ears and never let go! “Smilessence” is here — put on the box and feel your smile begin!

Reggie Pittman – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Loren Daniels – Piano / Vocal
Mike Richmond – Bass
Jonathon Peretz– Drums

“When Loren Daniels asked me to write liner notes for this recording, Smilessence, I accepted, as I already knew the music would be good. That comment is incorrect. This recording is an excellent rendering of music by four seasoned players who have been a cohesive unit for several years, performing regularly as the Reggie Pittman/Loren Daniels Quartet.

“Individually, and collectively, this quartet displays years of experience and a musical savvy garnered from a myriad of musical styles. The music presented consists of nine originals from Loren Daniels, one from Reggie Pittman, and an American Songbook classic, delivered with a very fresh harmonic approach.

“The program is very eclectic and strong with something for everyone’s personal tastes. The maturity and experience of this ensemble allows them to play in a calypso style, easy swing, fast, intricate Be-Bop, funky grooves, slow ballads, and slow pensive moody
grooves, with ease and authority. The ensemble’s commitment to the “groove” is prevalent throughout their program, which, in my opinion, exhibits a musical maturity that truly what makes it all work for you to enjoy this recording.

“As I have had repeated listens, what I enjoy the most is the passion, clarity, interaction, and patience given between the players whether they are in supporting or soloing roles. Bassist, Mike Richmond and drummer, Jonathan Peretz, produce a relentless pulse as a team, no matter the tempo or style. This cohesiveness allows pianist, Loren Daniels, to caress the music creating his ideas without conflict. As a trio, these three gentlemen exhibit a chemistry that produces a carpet ride for trumpeter, Reggie Pittman, to ride upon creating meaningful solos throughout. The end result is an ensemble delivering exquisite musical taste, no matter who is soloing.

“Although this ensemble delivers mostly original music, the music presented is very accessible and successfully rendered, in my opinion. When listening to thoughtful, swinging, melodic, and harmonically interesting Jazz, one will always hear something new that was missed the first time around Smilessence, is that kind of recording that will demand, intrigue, and entice repeated listenings. The operative word is listening without simultaneous multitasking. Only then will you truly appreciate the collective efforts of the Reggie Pittman/Loren Daniels Quartet. BRAVO!”

— Rufus Reid, Jazz Bassist/Composer/Educator

“Smilessence” is the perfect way to describe the experience of creating this project: it is joyous, swinging, warm, thoughtful, diverse and has deep grooves!  The 11 tracks of “Smilessence” are imbued with the sound and spirit of a working band: intuitive, playful, supportive and intrinsically connected. Playing music with this group is a true blessing and we are grateful to be able to share it with you. We’d like to thank: Mike Richmond and Jonathan Peretz for their groovability, support and creativity of their playing, Dave Kowalski for his amazingly musical engineering, recording techniques, and great ears, Andrea Valentini for the very hip vibe and equipment at Teaneck Sound Studios, Susan Daniels for her exquisite and imaginative cover artwork, Karin Greene for her great graphic design, Jeff Collier for his artistic photos, Joe and Charlene Sharone and our devoted fans at Classic Quiche Cafe, Chris Kowalski for his post video expertise, Pastor Gary LeCroy and the “Jazz In The Spirit” faithful at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Teaneck NJ, our families, Pernell Bess, Carolyn Spratley, Hae Jin Sunim of Taego Zen Center and all that is divine and spiritual for aspiration, perseverance, positivity, reflection and dedication. May all who hear this music benefit.

Peace, Reggie Pittman and Loren Daniels

Preview song selections from Smilessence

“And It Goes…On” is an evocative waltz time ballad composed by Loren Daniels. It opens with a beautiful rubato solo piano intro by Daniels followed by sensitive and soulful solos by both Richmond, on bass and Pittman, playing muted trumpet. Teasing the tune into a more playful place, Daniels’ piano solo dances lightly through the changes. “And It Goes…On” showcases sensitive ballad ensemble playing by the Pittman /Daniels Quartet.

“I’ve always loved the spirit of Caribbean music and calypso in particular”, Daniels states, “and I was lucky enough to play with and be taught by some great musicians of Caribbean heritage.” That grounding shows up in “Smilessence” in Daniels’ composition and in the performance. Loren sets the tone with the first solo on the Rhodes, Reggie adds some trumpet spice and Jonathon solos over backgrounds by Loren and Mike. “Smilessence” evokes a beach chair and a cold libation!

“Sco-Ho-Ho”, another Daniels original, gives the band an opportunity to get their funky groove on! The title is a homage to guitarist John Scofield. “As I was writing this piece, it reminded me of Scofield’s oeuvre which manages to put the jazz in funk and the funk in jazz. I love that approach!”, Loren explains.  “Sco-Ho-Ho” adds Fender-Rhodes electric piano to the quartet sound — a perfect fit for this tune!  You can listen or you can dance — either way you’ll dig it!

“You Better Say Alice” is a medium-up tempo Daniels piece that allows the quartet to swing hard and showcase the group interplay that comes from being a “working band.” Reggie, Loren, Mike and Jonathon each play solos that bring to life different aspects of “Alice”. The title was inspired by an episode of the Honeymooners. After Ralph declares that, “I’m the king of the house and what I say goes!” Alice responds, “Well, You Better Say Alice ‘cause I’m going!”







The Reggie Pittman / Loren Daniels Quartet

“Point A To Point A is a return to the great sounds of jazz legends from the past, brought to us by modern storytellers. Weaving in and out of sonic bliss, the quartet both captures the listener’s ear and makes it hard to turn the dial, as the album is packed with hits from open to close. It’s rare to find an album without a weak moment, and Point A To Point A might be just that.”
— Christopher Adams, Cashbox Magazine

Point A To Point A features four seasoned veteran jazz musicians making a joyous sound from beginning to end. The interaction, conversation and technical prowess exhibited by the leaders Pittman (trumpet/ flugelhorn) and Daniels (piano) is what makes the recording so special. The rhythm section comprising Bill Morning (bass) and Tim Horner (drums) swing tirelessly and provide the necessary push to elevate the music to inspired heights. Each track has its own message from swing to be-bop to modern flavors, Point A to Point A is a complete journey.

Reggie Pittman – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Loren Daniels – Piano / Vocal
Bill Moring – Bass
Tim Horner – Drums

Creating this CD has been a joyous experience from beginning to end. We are blessed to enjoy an intuitive and positive musical partnership and we could not have done this without much love and support. We’d like to thank: Our families —Helen, Jasmine and Amani Pittman ans Susan, Greta and Nick Daniels for their love, support, patience and understanding; Bill Moring and Tim Horner for their musicality, sensitivity and giving spirits; Al Perrotta for his great ears and technical prowess; Susan Daniels for the beautiful cover artwork; all those who offered their support and encouragement along the way — Mike Richmond, Bruce Jackson, Joe Sharone, Gen Yamamoto, Mark Morelli, Carl Scariati, Lauren Hooker, the Jazz Vespers crowd from St. Paul’s LC of Teaneck, our friends and colleagues in the Teaneck Public Schools — and all that is divine and spiritual for inspiration, introspection, perseverance, and reflection. May all who hear this music benefit.

Peace, Reggie Pittman and Loren Daniels

Preview song selections from Point A to Point A

“Prose and Consequence” is a play on words (“pros and cons”) and a comment on the sometimes unexpected effects of things that we write. “Prose and Consequence” is an up tempo burner that uses a descending pattern of minor 6/9 chords. “It’s the kind of piece that lets me get in touch with my inner McCoy,” says Daniels. There are some great exchanges between the drums and trumpet and piano towards the end of the piece.

This piece was one of the first “blues” pieces Daniels ever wrote. The ‘B.T.’ in the title refers to the great pianist and composer Bobby Timmons. Loren really dug his tunes (like “Dis Here” and “Dat Dere”) and loves his playing with the Cannonball Adderly Quintet and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. “On The B.T.” is all about digging in and getting that swinging/funky hard-bop vibe.

“Waterwind” starts with a beautifully atmospheric drum and percussion intro which segues into a moody rumba vamp that eventually becomes the tune. Thus, the tone is set for the muted trumpet melody and solo and the following piano solo. This piece is all about the atmosphere, the feeling, the nuance, and the meshing of players and timbres into a whole that is much more than the sum of its parts. Wanting to musically conjure up a seaside setting at dawn, “Waterwind” is one of the first pieces Loren ever composed.

“How do…Monk brew…Groovin’ bits of sound and time into a hip concoction…Voodoo…sez who…It’s All Thelonious!” That is the first line of lyrics from this tribute to the completely wonderful uniqueness and outrageousness that was the great Thelonious Monk. “I hope the lyrics, the melody, the harmonies and the performance reflect, in some small way, the remarkable genius of Monk.” “So cool…this jewel…Jazz we know would not be so without his contribution…Brand new…Jazz view…It’s All Thelonious!”

Like Fun!

The Loren Daniels Trio

Like Fun is the first recording from Loren’s extensive library of original compositions. Of the 10 tunes, 6 were composed by Daniels, two by Scariati; along with two collaborations featuring music by Scariati and lyrics by Daniels. The variety of selections includes straight-ahead swing, ballads, blues, funk, and an upbeat calypso, with 4 tunes featuring vocals. 

Loren Daniels – Piano             Mark Morelli – Drums            Carl Scariati – Bass