After over 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, fans and critics 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 (partially funded through New Music USA), then 2014’s Portraits: Wind, Thunder and Love which includes the five-movement suite Wispercussion: Five Portraits of Warren Smith – both featuring string orchestras. In 2019 he repackaged both Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues into a single CD entitled Sins and Virtues.
Mr. Daley has received fellowships in music composition from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Art Omi, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and has been commissioned for acclaimed works by the Tri-Centric Foundation and Dance Clarinet Ensemble (through Brooklyn Council on the Arts).
Joseph is currently composing new large-scale works that will be premiered in conjunction with his 75th birthday in 2024.
With his increasing prominence as a composer and a long history in education, Joseph has drawn the attention of a number of prominent educators and university programs. Since 2018 Joseph has become an in-demand and highly compelling residency director, providing activities at various institutions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Washington (state) and New Hampshire. His extended residency at Dartmouth College culminated in an outstanding performance of selections from The Seven Deadly Sins. In January 2020 he successfully completed a week-long residency at Seattle Pacific University, culminating in a full concert performance of the entire work.
In addition to his orchestral endeavors; Joseph is developing a significant reputation as a leader of smaller ensembles. His 2015 album, The Tuba Trio Chronicles – dedicated to his longtime 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, When time allowed in Joseph’s intense schedule, 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. (Unfortunately, a large-scale tour – with support from South Arts’ Jazz Road program – that was scheduled for early 2020 was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Joseph’s enormous versatility and scope have made him a much in-demand collaborator for a genre-bending array of superb artists. In addition to jazz masters, like Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Craig Harris, and Bill Cole, he has also been called upon by a widely diverse group of artists, including Taj Mahal, Jayne Cortez, Natalie Merchant, Kronos String Quartet, Gangbe Brass Band of Benin, and Tuvan throat-singing groups Huun Huur Tu and the Alash Ensemble.
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; 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 Makanda Ken McIntyre, Jason Hwang, Taylor Ho Bynum, George Gruntz, Reggie Nicholson, Warren Smith and Dave Douglas, and is an original member of Howard Johnson’s groundbreaking tuba ensemble, Gravity, producing the group’s final studio recording: 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. The Trayvon Martin Suite (in duet with Cole, recorded in concert at the University of Virginia) is also available on his JoDa Music Label
Plans are in place for an extensive series of activities that will take place in 2024 and 2025 in celebration and recognition of Joseph Daley’s 75th birthday and 55 years in music.
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January 5, 2024