Peter Daniel’s Quartet Delivers a Jazz Masterpiece with ‘Miles Around’

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Peter Daniel, a very talented Seattle-based saxophonist, and composer who recently released his new single called ‘Miles Around’ which is from his complex and innovative series called ‘Quartets.

For this one, Peter got together an amazing cast: Marina Christopher for bass, Marina Albero for Fender Rhodes, and Heather Thomas on drums. Together they make this great, full bodied jazzy sound that just engulfs you. The musicianship is exceptional but it’s Peter’s artistic direction and the chemistry that makes “Miles Around” an entirely different ball game.

Today, Peter’s musical odyssey is as diverse as can be. He has supported electronic dance music artists, explored funk and soul for ten years, and trained as a jazz musician. Those manifold inspirations amalgamate into his completely distinct style as both a composer and a performer.

I wanted to get an insight into his creative process, his artistic progression and his experiences during his journey towards pursuing music full-time. He also talked about his first musical influences, the events that made him decide to dedicate to music and his philosophy of always working with other artists.

Picking Peter’s brains was enlightening and gaining insight into the current jazz scene that he has emerged as such a passionate advocate for was amazing. He has so much to tell and it seems like a genuine passion for teaching – tune in for more of the details!

Listen to Miles Around

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What is your stage name
Peter Daniel Quartet

Where do you find inspiration?
My education was primarily focused on jazz, and I have been exploring the funk/soul world in depth for the past 10-12 years. I have also had the privilege of a very diverse career, backing up EDM bands, latin jazz and pop artists, hip hop and indie rock icons and everything in between, so some of the lessons I learned there make their way into this music.

What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
I’ve been playing since the 5th grade and immediately took a strong interest in music. I found myself in jazz band in middle and high school and took a lot of inspiration from my music teachers. My middle school band director, now retired, actually came to one of my shows last year; it was great to see him.

Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
I didn’t embrace music as a profession and full time pursuit until I was already in college studying a science degree. I had friends in high school who were similarly motivated and through them we encountered some of the players on our local scene: guys who didn’t have a recognizable name but were making their living through music.

This was an eye-opener for me, that there was this class of musician in between hobbyist and playing two nights at Jazz Alley. I also got a lot of encouragement from my private teachers both in high school and college who helped assure me that I had what it was going to take.

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I didn’t embrace music as a profession and full time pursuit until I was already in college studying a science degree

How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
I learned writing like most skills are learned: trial and error. This is a large collection of recorded music that I’m proud of, and the road that lead to it is paved with many more compositions that no one will ever again hear played.

I tried to pay attention to songs I liked and then break them down to figure out what specifically about them I was drawn to. Through that process and through feedback from bandmates (writing for instruments you don’t play involves a learning curve) I have developed my voice as a composer and arranger.

What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
One of the earliest I can remember is Wynton Marsalis with Jazz at Lincoln Center on tour in Seattle, it must have been in the early 90s. I can’t remember what the venue was, I was in 3rd or 4th grade. And while I can’t remember any of the music they played, I can remember how the music made me feel, how excited I was, and how bright the stage and the band was.

How could you describe your music?
It’s a mixture of jazz and funk with influences from pop music. Maceo liked to say his music was “2% jazz, 98% funky stuff.” We’re probably closer to a 50/50 ratio.

Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
Absolutely. As what you might call a session or studio musician, I find myself performing in a wide variety of styles, each of which informs me in a different way. As I progress, these influences grow and change in various ways. Also as I continue to grow and improve as a saxophonist, what is available to me changes and what I can produce grows as well.

What are your interests outside of music?
It’s a bit of a cliche around the Pacific Northwest, but I like being outside. My wife and I love multi-day backpacking trips into the North Cascades, and we’ve taken our daughter camping several times a year.

What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
The industry is constantly changing. It is now easier than ever to create and distribute music which is both a blessing and a challenge. The barriers to entry have been severely reduced so any artist who has something to say can find a way to say and share it without having to convince the former gatekeepers of the music industry.

However this leads to a flooded market with an unimaginable number of artists and songs to contend with if you want people to hear your songs. Finding your voice, finding your audience, and effectively connecting to them have always been surefire ways to succeed, but how those are executed requires a wide variety of new skills in order to catch the eye: photography, graphic design, video editing, etc. are all now necessary for musicians or their teams, with more resources and platforms every year. It’s a lot to keep on top of.

Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
When I formed this quartet I was in a number of regular bands and found myself playing with the same two dozen or so people. There are a lot of great friends and players in the Seattle scene and I wanted to create a context to play with a lot of them, so I started a group that intentionally rotated players.

The album features 4 different rhythm sections comprised of some of the players who were on regular rotation so I called it “Quartets.” One of the early iterations of the band was Heather Thomas on drums, Marina Albero on keys and Marina Christopher on bass and I really enjoyed the sound of that lineup, so it was important to me to get this version together once it came time to record.

What are your plans for the coming months?
The album will be out later this year, likely in the fall. To keep up with all the news, head to

Do you have any artistic collaboration plans
I will be at Timber! Fest this July in Carnation, WA where I will be launching the Peter Daniel Horntet. We are working with a number of artists at that festival including Dean Johnson and Kate Dinsmore, and I’m hoping to expand the collaborative work of that group in the years to come.

What message would you like to give to your fans?
Thanks for all your continued support! We are nothing without our community, and I am truly humbled by the one I have assembled here.

Mister Styx
Mister Styx
My name is Mister Styx and I'm a music blogger and an HVAC Engineer. I'm passionate about all kinds of music, from rock to hip-hop, Jazz, and Reggae as a matter of fact I am always eager to hear new sounds as music has no barrier, and I'm always looking for new sounds to explore. Hop on lets go fetch for some new sounds!

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