The David Joel Quartet is an exciting and progressive electric jazz ensemble employing the traditions of jazz melody, harmony, rhythm, and form, in a contemporary format. It's influences of straight-ahead jazz, bossa nova and samba, rock, blues, fusion, and other disparate 20th century music bring a fresh and distinct flavor to it's sonic palette. The group has taken different forms since it's beginnings in 1988 and has performed in Boston, Washington, D.C. and In it's current hometown of Philadelphia with various repertoire and contributing players over the years. Composer/guitarist David Joel has performed throughout the east coast, in Europe and Japan, and is joined by some of Philadelphia's finest jazz musicians: John Stenger - keys, Paul Gehman - bass and Dan Monaghan - drums. The first disc, "Live At Chris'," was recorded and released in 2003. The band recorded their first studio disc, "Spiral Sky," 8/06 - 2/07 which was released on March 17, 2007 at Chris' Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia, PA. The quartet fires up this recording featuring creative and energetic original compositions and improvisations reminiscent of Weather Report, The Pat Metheny Group, and Jimi Hendrix. 'What I hear in Joel's music is his ability to play and embrace all kinds of styles, to the fluidity of the playing itself. Joel's Quartet touch on everything from hard bop to bebop, smooth ECM-styled tranquility to incredible fusion, and they do each of them with equal passion, and that comes from musicians who are in tune with the music and each other. He's a guitarist that guitar heads will love, because he can be cool, calm, and collected on one part of the song, and then he brings all of these euphoric emotions to where you can feel the intensity, only for him to hold back and allow the band to shine, which is what all great jazz bands are about. This is a great jazz band, all great musicians in their own right, helping out a guitarist who has to be heard to be believed.' ~John Book, The Run-Off Groove 'Guitarist David Joel assembles a surprisingly nuanced outing for his first CD. Joel's compositions and the quartet's playing consistently conjure up unexpected sounds that stretch a listener's concepts without head-butting them. 'The Star Spangled Gospel' is a soulful, Hendrix-like treatment, and the title track is big-toned and Metheny-esque. Western Lies' comes with an impressive cascade of sounds and some requisite guitar frenzy... some serious playing.' *** ~Karl Stark, The Philadelphia Inquirer ' It is much harder to recognize the inherent merit of any work when one has a bias against it's form. Despite Spiral Sky's fusion stance, however, guitarist David Joel has created a musical opus of extreme beauty.Each piece is like a well-crafted short story, with the ability to invoke a whole gamut of thoughts and emotions. The compositions, all by the Joel, are unique yet complementary to each other. In a time when most of what passes as fusion comes dangerously close to instrumental pop and elevator music, Joel's compositions are rich with substance without sacrificing form, and are extremely well-shaped. The richly mellifluous tracks are embellished by soaring improvised lines that go far away from the basic theme without losing sight of the melody. The four musicians demonstrate a close rapport, forming a cohesive unit during the ensemble work, and unique individualities when soloing. The music is what one expects from a jazz-rock fusion recording, with a guitar and keyboard frontline supported by bass and drums, electric sounds and virtuoso solos. There are elements of gospel, funk and world music judiciously sprinkled in to spice things up a bit, with some references to the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The highlights of this extremely enjoyable and rewarding listen are the complementary tracks "Eastern Truth" and "Western Lies." For those who enjoy fusion, Joel and his quartet have recorded a near masterpiece of the genre which only barely falls short of rivaling classics including the Mahavishnu Orchestra's The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia, 1972) and Weather Report's Heavy Weather (Columbia, 1977).' ~Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz "David Joel, a passionate, creative and sensitive guitarist leads this quartet through a mix of contemporary jazz melody and harmony. Joel has a strong musical base...well written contemporary jazz songs, solid playing and lots of potential." ~Paul J. Youngman, Jazz Review.
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