Legendary Portland Jazz Guitarist, Dan Balmer, releases a new album of all original music with New York City stalwarts Gary Versace and Rudy Royston
Release Date: November 10, 2023
Available on Bandcamp and all digital platforms
When the Night is Dan Balmer’s first album in over five years, and it is a highly anticipated release from jazz fans around the Pacific Northwest. The album features a stellar cast of two of the finest musicians from the New York City jazz scene, Gary Versace on Hammond organ and Rudy Royston on drums. In the true spirit of the PJCE Records label, all of the tunes on the album are newly composed pieces by Balmer.
The album’s title track, “When the Night,” is a haunting and beautiful country-pop ballad that showcases Balmer’s lyrical guitar playing and his knack for writing memorable melodies. Two busts on the Mt. Rushmore of jazz guitar are honored in Balmer’s compositions. While “Lifesize Bright” bears a more obvious resemblance to a Metheny-esque tune, “Wes” has an indie rock vibe and liberal use of guitar effects. The tunes on the album are varied in tempo, vibe, and style. They all fit together nicely as a complete statement, but there are stand-out tracks as well. Though it starts with somber solo guitar, “Seattle” turns into a lilting anthemic piece that features dovetailing solos between Balmer and Versace. “It Felt Like Drowning (My last divorce song)” is rife with energy and Balmer’s impressive technique is on full display throughout.
In Balmer’s words:
This album is the latest installment in my effort to create original music that is emotional, interesting, enjoyable, and personal. Both Gary and Rudy immediately understood the music, its goals, and brought their voices to the project. My music covers a wide range of styles and influences and Gary and Rudy proved more than up to the task of bringing each song to its own particular best result.
I’m excited and pleased with the music we made. It justified my trip to New Jersey to record and I feel the end result is everything I was hoping for emotionally, artistically, and technically. Their virtuosity “served” the music and the outcome was even better than I hoped for!
About Dan Balmer
From coffee house gigs at fifteen to chart-topping success with the Tom Grant Band in the 90s, world tours with two-time Grammy Award winner Diane Schuur and contemporary jam-bands, Dan Balmer brings fire and heart every time he plays the guitar. His playing spans nearly one hundred albums including twelve as a leader from which his original works have appeared internationally in television, film and radio.
An in-demand educator, Balmer maintains a busy schedule of private lessons, group clinics, and master classes throughout the US and abroad. He adjudicates student jazz band competitions at events such as the Monterey Next Generation Festival and Reno Jazz Festival along with being a long-term teacher at the Centrum Jazz Workshop. He is the director of jazz combos at Lewis And Clark College.
Dan has performed or toured with Joey DeFrancesco, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Les McCann, Javon Jackson and Karrin Allyson, Benny Golson, Jeff Hamilton, Gerald Clayton, John Clayton, Terell Stafford, Ingrid Jensen, Duduka da Fonseca, Kendrick Scott, Taylor Eigsti, Buddy De Franco, Bruce Forman and countless others.
Balmer’s love of guitar and making music combined with discipline, technique and restless curiosity provide an ever-deepening experience for himself and his listeners. In every performance he finds himself in the middle of the path, amidst a continuous and compelling process of discovery. When the Night is his thirteenth album as a leader, and the first on the PJCE Records label. The Los Angeles Times said he is “The model of what a contemporary guitarist should be.” He is in both the Jazz Society of Oregon and the Oregon Music Halls of Fame.
Artist: Dan Balmer
Title: When the Night
Personnel: Dan Balmer, guitar; Gary Versace, organ; Rudy Royston, drums
Wes (For my favorite) 5:30
When The Night 6:31
Round and Round 5:22
Lifesize Bright (For the man from Missouri) 5:29
Love Ballad (Two words say it all) 6:20
It Felt Like Drowning (My last divorce song) 4:03
The Wander Years (Ages 1-100) 5:26
Never Leave (A song of worry and hope for us all) 7:06
Total Run Time 50:35
All compositions by Dan Balmer, Darnell Baime Music BMI
Recorded by Chris Sulit
Mixed and mastered by Bob Stark
Recorded at Trading 8s Studio, Paramus N.J.
Recording date: May 3, 2023
Executive Producer: Ryan Meagher
Photos by Ryan Meagher and Chris Sulit
Design and Layout by: Micah Kassell
Dan Balmer’s website: https://www.danbalmer.com/
PJCE Records website: http://pjce.org/album-category/releases/