Keyboardist Dan Siegel to Release 23rd New Album “Unity” on August 9th, 2024

Veteran Keyboardist/Composer Dan Siegel Brings Together a Stellar Rhythm Section and a Roster of Ace Guitarists for his Groove-Heavy 23rd Album

Unity, Due out August 9, Features Bassist
David “DJ” Ginyard and Drummer Oscar Seaton Along with a Cast of Six-String Greats

Pianist and keyboardist Dan Siegel has covered a broad swath of the jazz spectrum over the course of his four-and-a-half decade career, from straightahead swing to sleek contemporary sounds. While that’s a testament to Siegel’s multi-faceted talents and restless curiosity, it’s also the result of the diverse array of collaborators that have joined him along the journey – a staggering roster that includes Bela Fleck, Steve Gadd, Larry Carlton, Ernie Watts, Ottmar Liebert, Lee Ritenour, Brian Bromberg, Eric Marienthal, Bob Sheppard, Boney James, Alex Acuña and others.

Siegel’s twenty-third release, Unity, is the latest and one of the finest examples of that alchemical process. Due out August 9, 2024, Unity reunites the keyboardist with drummer Oscar Seaton for the first time in 20 years, since the recording of the 2004 album Inside Out. It also marks his first meeting with bassist David “DJ” Ginyard, Seaton’s rhythm section partner in Terence Blanchard’s electrically charged E-Collective band. From the time the trio entered the studio together, Siegel’s vision of the music he’d written for the session irrevocably changed, a display of the titular unity.

“Recording is like magic sometimes,” Siegel says. “The music appears from nothing, which can be really gratifying. The best guarantee you can have is to hire good people. When I got together with Oscar and DJ, the feel and the overall direction changed pretty drastically from how I envisioned it.”

Siegel points to the breezy, infectious “Free Spirit,” which he initially pictured as a swinging piano trio tune in the classic tradition. Approaching Ginyard and Seaton separately, both assumed they’d play it as a shuffle. “I had no idea that’s where it was going to go,” Siegel marvels. It turned out to be this pretty heavy 12/8 groove, but it works. I have to admit that when things change up like that, it’s the most fun you can have in the studio.”

To the core trio, Siegel added a rotating cast of master guitarists, most of them longtime compatriots and friends who each added their own distinctive flavors to the tracks: Rob Bacon (Raphael Saadiq, Amp Fiddler), Allen Hinds (Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole), Michael Miller (Boz Scaggs, Chick Corea), Dean Parks (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson), and Michael Thompson (Babyface, Whitney Houston). Unity also features percussion great Lenny Castro, whose relationship with Siegel dates back to the keyboardist’s self-titled 1982 album, as does that of prolific saxophonist Tom Scott, who heads the album’s horn section.

Unity, like each of Siegel’s wide-ranging albums, is a reflection of the time and circumstances in which it was created. Its most recent predecessors, the meditative Fractured Monolith and the densely arranged, wistful Faraway Place, were Siegel’s pandemic projects, generated by isolation and endless time. The ability to convene with one’s fellow musicians is captured in the new album’s title, as is a bit of wishful thinking in reaction to our current divisive culture. Chiefly, though, it defines the method of its production, a cohesive whole arising from multiple distinct personalities.

“This project came together in an incredible fashion from the very beginning,” Siegel says. “It was really painless and a lot of fun. With DJ and Oscar playing together, it’s impossible not to have a great rhythmic foundation that’s a joy to play on top of. With that foundation I brought in all these guitarists, guys that I’ve known throughout the years that I thought would be suitable for different tunes. In the end, the music speaks for itself.”

A sense of freedom, escape and momentum is threaded through the album, from the lyrical, Crusaders-like opener “Best Foot Forward” through the elegant ballad “Line of Sight” with its lush, Gil Evans-inspired horn arrangement, to the funky “Streetwise,” “Free Spirit” with its surging shuffle groove, on to the lively, humor-laced “Roadside Attraction.” But Unity also contains a range of emotions and moods, including the stirring drama of “Defining Moment,” the bright, organ-laced title track, and the tender “Before I Go.”

The latter is a rare moment of reflection on a primarily forward-looking collection. It’s an acknowledgment that at 70, Siegel’s long and rewarding career is entering a concluding chapter. It’s a stark fact also reflected in the striking cover art, a painting by Siegel’s longtime friend Alan Rubin, who passed away in 2022.

“While we were in the middle of recording at Sunset Sound in L.A., I took a moment to look around and think to myself, ‘I wonder how many more opportunities I’m going to get to do this.’ But you never know when the inspiration will come again and the ideas will start to flow. That’s what happened here, and I’m so proud of this album.”

Dan Siegel · Unity!
Release Date: August 9, 2024

DL Media