NEWS

DAN WILLIS PRESS QUOTES

"Dan Willis' evocative mix of smarts, skill, wit, adventure, and swing – as both composer and improviser – can make for compelling listening."

- Zan Stewart, Newark Star-Ledger

 

"The music is decidedly forward-looking; it brings in many influences, from jazz and classical to rock. Many Worlds Theory starts with bass clarinet, mur- murs amid drums, trumpet and guitar textures, then turns subtly funky, with spirited soprano sax and wah-wah guitar."

- Zan Stewart, Newark Star-Ledger

 

"Willis, who plays 11 wind instruments here, is a fine soloist with a highly developed sense of line to go with his judgement as an arranger."

- Ray Comiskey, Dublin Times

 

"Velvet Gentlemen demonstrates qualities that are hard to find: it's cerebral in conception, yet paradox- ically never less than profoundly moving."

- John Kelman, All About Jazz

 

"Willis's saxophone playing echoes the energetic style of the New York '70s loft scene: rapid-fire, questing, veering toward atonality; in this velvety context, it's a successful sound. And that sound is, well, a velvety one, overlaid with sumptuousness. The velvety sound derives in part from the multiple instruments Willis plays in addition to tenor and soprano sax: oboe, English horn, the Armenian duduk and others."

- Jeff Dayton-Johnson, All About Jazz

 

With an arsenal of conventional and indigenous woodwinds at hand, Willis' breathes fluency and articulately expressed themes into a set that sustains gobs of interest from start to finish.

- Glen Astarita, Downbeat

 

"Willis' composing style is sometimes akin to film- score like attributes, executed by a scaled down ensemble. Hence, he's a melody maker, which is a component that counterbalances passages where electric guitarist McCann cranks up the volume via a mishmash of distortion techniques. No doubt about it, Willis has delivered the knockout blow with this exceptional and uncannily accessible studio outing."

- Glen Astarita, Downbeat

 

"Standing tall among the next wave of musicians who believe in jazz as art is multicultural multi- instrumentalist Dan Willis, basically a reed man but able to play classical oboe as well as English horn, Armenian duduk and Chinese suona. And the irre- pressible piccolo.... Thankfully, Willis values the power of melody. While these 11 pieces are thick with the intricacies of complex music theory, they also have reassuring lyrical forms and melodic appeal. Think of them as beautiful men and women with awesome brains."

- Chuck Graham, The Tucson Citizen

 

"Willis is a horn master. He’s on 11 instruments here, from tenor and soprano saxophone, oboe and English Horn to duduk, suona and samba whistle. He favors detailed, densely drawn construction, and dubs himself into a woodwind ensemble, packing tunes with elaborate and minute passageways: pop drama, 1970s and 80s electric jazz, and pure improv."

- Greg Buium, Downbeat

 

Science may have been the catalyst in this albumn, but Willis’ vast experience -chamber ensembles, Broadway, Michael Brecker’s Quindectet- seem to have helped his mind discover the creative possibili- ties of this album.

- Mike Shanely, Jazztimes

Dan Willis Visits Home Bearing Gifts Of Satie and Monk

 

Dan Willis & The Velvet Gentlemen at Pausa Art House

 

"The concert was top-notch and intimate in the Pausa Art House Room. Explore the music of Dan Willis. You’ll be glad you did. Receive gifts of enjoyable musical brilliance. And, we can also proudly acknowledge as having been created by a Buffalonian." 

 

-Tony Zambito, Jazz Buffalo

 

Read the JazzBuffalo review here

"Willis is a horn master." -Downbeat Magazine

 

"Dan Willis' evocative mix of smarts, skill, wit, adventure, and swing - as both composer

and improviser - can make for compelling listening." -Newark Star-Ledger

 

One of New York City's most versatile woodwind specialists, Dan Willis can be heard both on Broadway in such musicals as West Side Story (where he currently plays eight instruments) and in Manhattan's finest jazz venues. Known around NYC music circles as a reed doubler, Willis masterfully genre hops between jazz, classical, free improvisation, rock and pop on an astounding 11 different wind instruments. Willis has performed and/or recorded alongside Michael Brecker (with his Grammy Award-winning ensemble Quindectet), Wynton Marsalis, Elton John, Ray Charles, Bono, Liza Minnelli, Don Henley, Rob Thomas and many others. The Satie Project II follows his four previously released recordings: Dan Willis Quartet, Hand To Mouth, Velvet Gentlemen, and The Satie Project.