The David Joel Quartet

The Quartet had its genesis from tunes I wrote and recitals which I led as a student at Berklee. These then developed into projects I put together during my tenures as a student at N.E.C. and instructor At Berklee. Some of the tunes we perform come from that time period (The Dance Of Life, Catharsis, Spiral Sky, etc.) and others were written more recently (The Blues Angel, Grasselenbach, Never's End - check out some of our recent gigs). Check out some MP3s below of our performances.

The group has taken different forms in Boston, Washington, D.C. and In Philadelphia with various contributing players and repertoire over the years. Some former members have included: Suzanna Sifter (Keys), Jim Whitney (Bass), John Mettam (Drums), Randy Chick (Keys), Tony Deangelis (Drums), and Scott Robinson (Drums).

We've performed at various area clubs and venues including: Chris' Jazz Cafe, Ortliebs Jazzhaus, Fergie's Pub , The Temperance House, John and Peter's, etc.

Band Bios

Paul Gehman has been playing bass for twenty-plus years. Most of his experience has been centered around the Philly area which has a long rich musical culture. As he has been a resident here for all but one or two of his years, he has strong associations with many fine musicians that are based here. His primary affinity is jazz, but many styles of music have been of interest to him.

Paul graduated from Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music sometime in the 80s.He has also taught since the time he attended school. His varied performance experiences include: with jazz based artists such as Larry McKenna, John Swana, Jimmy Bruno, Paul Bollenback, Vincent Herring, Joanna Pascale, and more...

Some non jazz based associations include performances with Susan Werner, Jim Boggia and with The Electric Farm. In addition he plays in many environments that vary from big band, small "power trio" pop or rock ensembles, bluegrass bands to formal "shows" on electric or acoustic bass or both.

Some mentionables: Played on a television special promoting jazz guitarist Rick Stone and the luthier Bill Comins; contributed a composition to a CD by the "Philly Five"; recorded with New York and Rome based trumpeter Andy Gravish; toured with the premier troop/cast of "A Coal Region Opera", by Dr. Paul Miller through Germany and Czechoslovakia; played with that same production company at a presentation of selected arias at Kurt Weill recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Mansfield, PA, native Dan Monaghan is rapidly making a name for himself as one of the best young drummers in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of Temple University, he has performed with some of the top names in jazz, including Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein, Joe Magnarelli, and Randy Brecker. In addition, he has recorded with Jimmy Bruno, Tony Miceli, John Swana, Elio Villafranca, Mike Kennedy, Norman David, Brian Woestehoff, and others.

Dan has performed at the Mellon Jazz Festival, the East Coast Jazz Festival, the Wilmington Latino Festival, the Blue Note, Blues Alley, Smoke, Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, Zanzibar Blue, and Chris' Jazz Cafe, among other well-known venues.

In addition to his performing credits, Dan is on the jazz faculty at Temple University and is a frequent clinician at schools, colleges, and festivals.

John Stenger began his professional playing career in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, before moving to New York City in 1997. He studied jazz at the renowned Mannes/New School Jazz and Contemporary Music program, and graduated from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in 2001, receiving a degree in classical music.

His teachers have included John Kamitsuka, Fred Hersch, John Corigliano, Joanne Brackeen and Reggie Workman, and he has recorded with talents including Cuban percussion legend Mongo Santamaria and the Ileana Santamaria Orchestra. He has also performed with many different jazz, Brazilian, and Cuban groups around the New York area.

John recently finished an EP recording with his own trio, Ellipsis which features jazz interpretations of contemporary rock and pop music. In the fall of 2005, a duo version of the group performed a 13 date cross-country tour, including performances in San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and Washington, DC. In addition to his work as a jazz and Latin pianist, John has worked extensively as a pianist and musical director for theater productions such as Cabaret, Sweet Charity, and Godspell. A pianist of over 20 years, John currently lives and works in the Philadelphia area, where he is an active freelance musician.

David Joel Quartet Compositions & Performances

The Dance of Life (The Dance Of Life1.mp3)

A chipper and upbeat tune whose title I felt to be apt. I was listening to Pat Metheny’s “last Train Home” when it came out in 1987 and one of the rhythms stuck in my head and ended up surfacing when I wrote this. It’s an early piece where I began to feel comfortable with what I was writing and creating. It’s the usual opener for our “Quartet” gigs.

Eastern Truth (Eastern Truth1.mp3)

Well, what can you say - there is truth to be found anywhere you go and inside every person you meet. I’ve long had a strong interest in the spiritual philosophies of Japan and India. This selection was born out of my influence from John Coltrane - pieces such as “India”, “Spiritual” and “Naima” are incredibly powerful; there is just no way possible on this or any other world to miss what he was expressing if you allow yourself to only listen.

Western Lies (Western Lies1.mp3)

The title is a joke of sorts and makes a bookend for the former piece. This composition is in 5/4 and is in total musical juxtaposition of “Eastern Truth” - very different ideas. You could actually switch the titles: “Western Truth” and... Considering what’s going on in the world these days, we need more truth in both places.

As It May End (As It May End1.mp3)

This soft ballad was written in 1990 while I was living in Boston. It begins with Paul accompanying me on upright as a duet - something which I believe was totally unexpected, I thought Dan and John were to play as well, but that didn’t happen until later in the piece. Everyone played so intuitively on this. It was the only take I played with a nylon string guitar and it was “the one.”

The Star-Spangled Gospel (The Star-Spangled Gospel 1.mp3)

Written in Japan while I was teaching at Cat Music College, in Osaka, Japan. One of the American instructors at the time was teaching some gospel choral music to the students. I had been feeling slightly homesick for the states, so I wrote this tune over which to create some noise.

Spiral Sky (Spiral Sky1.mp3)

An old tune and one of my favorites on which to play. I wrote this during my second year at the New England Conservatory in the late 1980’s. It’s very angular in regards to the chord changes and their resolutions or lack thereof. I had felt that the tune had a lot to offer and express and so I composed the extended coda (or ending section) which now exists at the end of the piece. This was constructed and addended long after the fact of originally writing and then performing the tune many times.

Little Bear Prelude/Little Bear (Littlle Bear Prelude1.mp3/Little Bear)

I hummed this piece to my wife when I wrote it last year (2006). It reminded me of a lullaby at the time, the melody of the “A” section being diatonic (composed only of the notes of the major scale). The bridge of the tune takes a few notes from the “a” section and milks them for what They're worth, altering the mood and creating a very different feel. Originally conceived as a jazz ballad, the band treats as an R ‘n B tune. I like input from my players and feel that you often get your best rendition from what your bandmates conjure up spontenaously...birds fly, fish swim and good musicians play naturally what they feel. The solo guitar “Prelude” was written as an introduction posthumously to the composition of the tune on which the band plays

Other Side of the Sun (Other Side Of The Sun1.mp3)

This reminds me of Sting meets Coltrane, something about the general vibe. It’s a more-or-less through composed tune which has a repeating melody and blues roots, Dan Monaghan arranged the coda section to suit his needs for the drum solo for which I believe he did a fine and very effective job. I also enjoy John Stenger’s keyboard solo in the middle of the tune. Smiling, he made a comment to me that the tune was too heroic for him - actually John, I think your solo is rather heroic in it’s way...

email: david@davidjoel.net
phone: (215) 831-8640