Dan Siegel “Dan Siegel”

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#660 in the Series) is 1982, self-tiled release from Dan Siegel.

When you go to a concert do you pay attention to the opening acts? Do you see what they have to offer? If not, I suggest that you do, as I’ve found many acts that have become favorites by doing so.  I wonder if how much longer it would have taken me to find NRBQ if I hadn’t seen them open for John Prine in the early 80’s.

Another of those was when I first saw Dan Siegel. I was spending the summer in Kansas City, and was an aspiring rock and roll writer for Night Rock News magazine at the time. I made friends with the gent that ran shows at the Uptown Theater there.  I soon had tickets to most shows there, and more times than not back stage access as well. In that short time I’d see some wonderful shows like REM, Split Enz, Weather Report, and also Jean-Luc Ponty.  Dan Siegel would open for Ponty that night.

I had never heard of this jazz artist, but was soon quite taken by his set.  No, this wasn’t ground-breaking jazz or fusion that was about to come an hour or so later. But it was exceptionally good. It was easy and accessible and very “user friendly.”  I loved the songs.  I was a fan.

I had a short interview scheduled with Jean-Luc Ponty before he was to take the stage. I happened to catch Dan as well and had a chance to meet with him for a short time too.  I was able to find out that this (new to me) musician was from Eugene, Oregon and had been around for some time.  I told him he had a new fan.

This self-titled album was why he was there that evening. He was touring to support this, the only album that he would release for Elektra Records.

This was 1982 and “New Age” radio stations hadn’t hit the market as of yet.  This really wasn’t new age but I could easily have heard this album on those types of airwaves.  This was the era when rock stations still played fusion and jazz rock, but this didn’t catch on with those programmers either unfortunately. That was surprising considering we were around the time when bands like The Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyra etc. were beginning to sell. Spyro Gyra did quite well.

Shortly after the concert I grabbed the Dan Siegel album. I easily remembered many of the songs from that evening’s performance. It is very heavy on melody with hooks that lock in.  I loved it. I can tell you that this was one of those albums that I played a ton of times back then. You know how there are always a few in your arsenal that you just played and played and you eventually knew every nook and cranny of it.  I really could not get enough of these songs and these great melodies.

The album was made mostly on the strength of Dan Siegel’s songwriting, but the talents of the band that he was able to gather for the sessions should not go unmentioned either. He played most of the keys. On bass was Abraham Laboriel (I guess we should add “Sr.” to his name now that his son is a star playing drums for Paul McCartney). Lenny Castro was on percussion. He’s played with everybody. Larry Carlton was on guitar, and he’s just one of the best ever. Tom Scott added horn, and on drums you have John “JR” Robinson. Robinson’s been called “The most recorded drummer in history.”

Over the years I wore out this LP and moved on. When I started building my CD collection I was disappointed to find that this was long out of print. I looked everywhere for it.  I couldn’t find a copy on eBay.  It wasn’t on the download sites, nothing, I figured it was over.

I eventually found Dan via the internet and he had it available directly through him. I was so happy. It’s amazing how differently things work there days. Not only was I able to hear it again but I was able to get it from the artist whose music I so loved.

I’ve actually wanted to write this piece for some time, but I figured it would be hard without having something for you to listen to.  Just this week I saw that all of it was now on YouTube. I was thrilled once again!  So you can listen to this album in its entirety below. I ask that you check it out. Heck, if you stayed with me this long you should at least hear what the heck I’m raving about.  Enjoy.

— Larry Carta

Track Listing

  1. Great Expectations
  2. Enchanted Forest
  3. Uptown
  4. Soaring
  5. The Lone Ranger
  6. Touch and Go
  7. Deserted Beach
  8. Passing Time
  9. The Conqueror

Personnel

  • Dan Siegel: Keyboards
  • Paul Jackson Jr., Larry Carlton, Marlon McCLain: Guitar
  • Tom Scott, Jeff Homan: Saxophone
  • Tom Brown: Trumpet
  • Mark Hatch: Fluegel Horn
  • Rob Thomas, Abraham Laboriel: Bass
  • Moyes Lucas Jr., John Robinson: Drums
  • Lenny Castro: Percussion

Links

Give the full album a listen below..

Posted by Larry Carta


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