Ted Daniel’s Energy Module | Innerconnection | No Business Records

Ted Daniel – trumpet, flugelhorn, French hunting horn, Moroccan bugle | Daniel Carter – tenor saxophone | Oliver Lake – alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, piccolo, cow bell | Richard Pierce – bass | Tatsuya Nakamura – drums, quarter drums

Recorded on the 8th November, 1975, at Sunrise Studio, 122 Second Avenue, second floor, New York. Compositions – Jiblet (Sunny Murray, Murray Publishing), Innerconnection (Dewey Redman, DewRed Music, ASCAP), Ghosts (Albert Ayler), Congeniality (Ornette Coleman, MJQ Music, BMI), The Probe, Entering and Pagan Spain (Ted Daniel, Double Arch Music, ASCAP). Liner Notes by Ed Hazell and Ted Daniel. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Booklet layout by Jeff DiPerna, tabula rasa graphic design. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Photo on page 2 courtesy of Juma Sultan Archive, jumasarchive.org. Photo on page 7 courtesy of Giuseppe Pino. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist CD 1: 1. Jiblet [2:11] 2. Innerconnection [24:52] 3. The Probe [12:36] 4. Ghosts [15:27]

Tracklist CD 2: 1. Entering / Congeniality / Pagan Spain [32:27]

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Ted Daniel Studio We, 1973 | Photo courtesy of Juma Sultan Archive, jumasarchive.org

Innerconnection

by Ed Hazell

Trumpeter Ted Daniel’s Energy Module was a short-lived band. They played exactly two gigs in the course of one week in the fall of 1975—and never played again. They gelled quickly as a quintet, however, in large part because everyone knew each other from working in Daniel’s big band, Energy. However, the Energy Module was a less formal affair than the large ensemble, in which they played Daniel’s original compositions and arrangements. “We had a couple of rehearsals and played through the tunes, but our main focus was on collective and individual improvisation,” Daniel says. “We were getting ready to take care of business.”

And they took care of business with a vengeance, as you can hear on this recording of their second and final performance. It’s the sort of loose-knit, pull-out-all-the-stops blowing session that took place nightly on New York’s Lower East Side in the 197os. But November 8, 1975, at Sunrise Studio was much more than an ordinary night in the lofts. Ted Daniel, Oliver Lake, Daniel Carter, Richard Pierce, and Tatsuya Nakamura stoked the cathartic fires of free jazz to a white-hot intensity and made it a special night indeed.

Early Years

Daniel was born in 1943 and grew up just north of Manhattan, in Ossining, New York, where he and his older brother Richard, a pianist, were childhood friends with guitarist Sonny Sharrock. Their father, a talented amateur saxophonist who grew up in North Carolina with swing-era alto saxophonist Tab Smith, bought Ted his first trumpet when he was nine. By the time he was in high school, Daniel was smitten by jazz trumpeters, especially those with a big, warm sound such as Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan. “I actually heard a Clifford Brown record, Study in Brown, by accident when I was babysitting for my sister,” Daniel told writer Clifford Allen in a 2007 All About Jazz interview. “I put it on because the guy had a trumpet on the cover. I was about thirteen at the time and I said ‘Yeah! This is what I want to do, this is it!’ I had never heard bop before. That’s how I got started on getting into jazz.”

There were few colleges offering jazz instruction in the late ‘5os and early ‘6os, but like many who wanted to learn more about the music, Daniel tried the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. His buddy Sharrock was there during the fall 1962 session, and Daniel made friends with other students, including pianist Dave Burrell and saxophonist Byard Lancaster. Daniel didn’t click at all with his trumpet teacher—who simply did paperwork during his lesson instead of helping him learn the instrument—and decided not to continue at Berklee. But he stayed in Boston for about six months before entering Southern Illinois University in the summer of 1963. There he finally got the instruction he needed. “There was this man, the Brass Department head, Dr. Phillip Olson, he took the time and diagnosed me and he started me from scratch,” Daniel says. “And I was cool with that. I didn’t care; I just wanted someone to tell me how to do this thing. After a year, he turned me over to his graduate assistant, a brother named Fred Berry. A few years ago I found out he was a charter member of the AACM, although I didn’t know it at the time!”

By 1965, Daniel’s Berklee cohort—Sharrock, Burrell and Lancaster— had moved to New York and he left SIU for Manahattan, where he jammed with everyone from Archie Shepp to Elvin Jones at the legendary Bond St. loft of Burrell and Lancaster. But just as he was settling into the scene, Daniel received his draft notice and in early 1966 he shipped out for Vietnam. Daniel served in the 9th and 25th Division Infantry Bands based in the Mekong delta, which meant performing more guard duty than music. He didn’t see combat, but he was near a battle zone and “there were some shaky moments,” Daniel says. “Getting shot at is no fun.

“But I’ll tell you, when I got back, I was a very angry young man,” he continues, “because I knew before they drafted me and got me in there that it was bullshit. I was pissed off, because I’d been ripped off of my time. All my boys were making progress in the music and I was left behind. But you have to put your anger aside or at least find a way to deal with it so you can get through this life.”

After he was discharged in ’68, Daniel didn’t feel ready for New York, so he joined his brother Richard at Central State in Ohio, where he studied with Makanda Ken Mclntrye. He returned briefly to New York in October1968 to play on Sonny Sharrock’s debut album as a leader, Black Woman.

His next opportunity to record came the following year. He and his brother Richard co-led a soul-funk-jazz band, Brute Force. The band included saxophonist Stan Strickland, who later recorded with Marty Ehrlich’s quartet, and drummer Syd Smart, who was a member of Sam Rivers’ tuba trio with Joe Daley in the late ’70s. One night at Central State, they were the opening act for Herbie Mann whose band at the time featured Sharrock. Mann liked what he heard and recorded Brute Force (with Sharrock as a guest) for his Embryo label in September1969.

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Loft Years

By then, Daniel had moved to New York, where he would live for the next zo years. (He also completed his music education with a BA in music theory and composition from City College of New York.) In 1970, Daniel recorded his sextet in concert at Columbia University, and eventually released The Ted Daniel Sextet himself in 1972 on his label Ujamaa, which was among the first of the artist-owned imprints that proliferated in the 1970s. In 1974, he made his last foray into electrified jazz on Tapestry. Recorded at Ornette Coleman’s Artists House with a band that included brother Richard on electric piano and Brute Force electric bassist Tim Ingles, the album was released on the French Sun label with the help of alto saxophonist Noah Howard. It would be his last album as a leader until he once again took matters into his own hands in 1997 and released In the Beginning, which featured a big band recorded at Studio We in 1975, on his own Altura Music label.

But if record companies failed to acknowledge Daniel, his peers definitely knew a major talent when they heard one. He was a member of Sunny Murray’s ensembles, playing lofts like Studio Rivbea and Ali’s Alley in the ‘7os, and in 1969 at the Newport Jazz Festival, for which Daniel had to borrow his father’s car so they could get to the coastal Rhode Island town from New York. “Sunny had a very big impact on me. It was the first big gig, with a major player, that I had,” Daniel says. “Playing with Sunny really opened me up to playing freely. That’s how I learned how to play free. There was no one-two-three-four, you had to play on the energy he was putting out.”

Tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman also called Daniel to join his band, and Daniel recorded Ear of the Behearer (1973) and Coincide (1974) for Impulse with him. In ’73 he appeared on Sam Rivers’ Impulse album, Crystals.

Undoubtedly, his most prominent sideman gig was with Andrew Cyrille’s Maono. Between 1975 and 1983, Daniel was the only constant member of the various editions of the drummer’s band, with which he made five albums. They met when he and Frank Lowe hired Cyrille to play in their quartet. “That was in the early ‘7os,” Daniel said in his 2007 All About Jazz interview, “and from there Andrew began to call me and I worked with him quite a bit for a long time in Maono. We started off with Hilton Ruiz on piano (Donald Smith was on piano at one time), Jeanne Lee was singing with us, and I think we had one with Haitian drummers’ Some other musicians that passed through were [saxophonists] David Ware and Joe Rigby, [bassist] Nick De Geronimo, and [pianist] Sonelius Smith, to name a few.”

On his own, Daniel devoted much of his time to the quixotic task of keeping his big band together, rehearsing on Saturdays at Studio We and eventually playing Monday nights for eight months in 1977 and ’78 at Rashied Ali’s club, Ali’s Alley. He led small ensembles irregularly in the lofts, whenever he could hustle up a gig. One of those lofts was Sunrise Studio, a second floor space at 122 Second Avenue that served as the home base of a nonprofit musicians’ collective, Free Life Communication. One of Free Life’s members, drummer Mike Mahaffey, lived there and booked the music. Daniel remembered Mahaffey from his time at Berklee, so he got in touch to see if he could play there. In late September 1975, he brought in his trio with Pierce and Nakamura and later released some of the music as The Loft Years, Vol. 1 on his revived Ujamaa label. When Daniel put together the quintet on this disc later in the fall of 1975, they played first at singer Joe Lee Wilson’s Ladies Fort on November 1 and then returned to Sunrise a week later.

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Recent Years

Daniel played less and less in the 198os and changed directions in his career. He recorded his last album with Cyrille, The Navigator, in 1982 and Rag, Bush and All with Henry Threadgill in 1989, the same year he received a Master of Social Work degree with a focus on clinical social work from Hunter Graduate School of Social Work. He then did three years of post-graduate work at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training before starting a private practice in Ossining and New York City.

It wasn’t until the 21st century that Daniel returned to music full time. He took part in Billy Bang’s Vietnam Revisited projects in 2001 and 2004. In 2004, he put together the International Brass & Membrane Corps with Joe Daley on tuba, Charles Burnham on violin, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. As of this writing, the band is still active. In 2006, he and reed player Michael Marcus formed a duo called Duology, releasing their first self-titled CD on Boxholder in 2006 and Golden Atoms on Soul Note in 2008.

“That was a very special time,” Daniel says of the decade that produced this album. “The music was developing and we were all scuffling, trying to keep ourselves together and play the music. Cats were dedicated. They were serious about it.”

You can hear just how serious they were on this remarkable disc. — Ed Hazell

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Ted Daniel’s Observations on the Music

First Set

“Jiblet” is a Sunny Murray composition that I used to play while in his band. The melody is a simple sing-song tune, something akin to a nursery rhyme. Tatsuya plays his quarter drums (which he designed) along with his regular trap set on the melody as well as supplying a backbeat that gives the reading a soulful feeling. The improvisation is an energetic collective effort with the three horns playing off each other’s energy.

“Innerconnection” is by Dewey Redman and I played it often while in his band. The line is played in unison until the end, at which time the horns answer one another with a short phrase before repeating the unison line. We begin the improvisation with a collective effort and then take solos with the rhythm team. I lead off followed by Oliver. Solos are accompanied by horn players commenting at will as well as horn players utilizing percussion instruments behind the soloist. Daniel Carter’s high wail behind my trumpet solo is particularly haunting and he is joined by Oliver at one point during the solo, which was inspiring. Oliver solos on soprano sax. As background, I play several long tones on French hunting horn. Danny takes the third solo on tenor and is pushed by my vocal incantations, French hunting horn, and Moroccan bugle (Khakhai). Oliver joins with low blasts from his alto as Danny continues to burn through his solo. Tatsuya and Pierce also burn right through to the end of Danny’s solo and Oliver picks up his flute to cool things down a little before we find our way out with the closing unison line.

I composed “Probe” with the Apollo ii lunar landing in 1969 in mind. The melody is structured around a whole tone scale. Pierce has a pedal throughout and Tatsuya utilizes his tom-toms and mallets. Oliver leads off with a very expressive solo, sounding like the human voice at times. I enter playing some harmonics on the flugelhorn and utilize the whole tone scale, referring back to the melody often. I take the melody out after my solo, ending on a dissonant chord to leave the piece unresolved.

We start Albert Ayler’s “Ghosts” with a collective improvisation in which I and the other horns introduce the melody intermittently and Tatsuya and Pierce supply the energy. The performance takes on the characteristic of what happens in some Black churches in the US. Danny Carter’s tenor work is particularly inspired and inspiring on this track. Albert Ayler’s music has always been an inspiration to me and I especially enjoy this composition.

Second Set

“Entering” is meant to be an intro to the two pieces that follow. Pierce starts off with a bass solo accompanied by the drums, after which Oliver enters on alto for an extended solo. Danny and I briefly join him before we all play Ornette Coleman’s “Congeniality.” I solo first with the two horns quoting and answering my statements throughout my solo. Danny has an extended second solo on tenor. Tatsuya employs his quarter drums throughout and Oliver alternates from cowbell to birdlike piccolo behind Danny. Trumpet and alto enter toward end of the tenor solo and bass and tenor end together to move into my composition, “Pagan Spain.” I play an intro on trumpet with the Harmon mute and switch to open flugelhorn to play the melody and improvise with bass and percussion. I incorporate some harmonics to create tension and contrast during my solo. The composition ends with tenor and alto softly commenting in support of my rendering of the melody.

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Ted Daniel with Moroccan bugle, 1973 | Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Pino

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2 thoughts on “Ted Daniel’s Energy Module | Innerconnection | No Business Records

  1. Although 72-year old trumpeter Ted Daniel remains active on the scene -courtesy of his Duology partnership with clarinetist Michael Marcus, and his own International Brass and Membrane Corps -a significant part of his recent output has focused on archival recordings. As such, the first time release of the 2 CD Innerconnection from fall 1975 neatly fits with a succession of reissues comprising 1970’s The Ted Daniel Sextet (Ujamaa Records, 2006), 1974’s Tapestry (Porter Records, 2008) and 1975’s The Loft Years (Ujamaa Records, 2009). It fills a gap too as his band here, going under the moniker Energy Module, has not left any other imprint.

    The name proves entirely appropriate as the bickering polypholy of the front line horns of reedmen Oliver Lake and Daniel Carter alongside the trumpeter certainly quickens the pulse. But in spite of the mayhem there is still ample space in the 85-minute program for a series of powerful solos before they gradually become subsumed by the spirited affirmation and accompaniment which recalls Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz in its conversational give and take.

    Daniel’s bop-inspired runs corral insistent flutters, halfnote effects and fragmented fanfares into a compelling whole. On alto and soprano saxophones, Lake’s familiar alternation between tart lines and outbursts of ferocious overblowing is already in place. Carter restricts himself to gritty tenor, playing with a muscular animation which contains less of the bluesy undertow now expected.

    Daniel’s rhythm section of drummer Tatsuya Nakamura and bassist Richard Pierce were at this point regular associates. Nakamura fuels the fires with roiling intensity. He connects strongly with the horns, his kick drum bombs goading Carter in particular into ever more energetic outpourings on a lengthy rendition of Dewey Redman’s title track. Pierce can only be properly heard once the ensemble passages subside, but shows discipline and imagination on the floating “Probe.”

    The trumpeter’s song selection pays homage to his peers and influences. Drummer Sunny Murray -a past employer -contributes the vibrant corkscrewing “Jiblet” while Albert Ayler’s “Ghosts” emerges from a collective discourse in what proves a cathartic blowout. In an unbroken sequence on the second disc, Ornette’s “Congeniality” is sandwiched between two of the leader’s themes. Lake smears and splatters his way through “Entering” before Daniel takes over with perhaps his most forceful outing of the set on the Coleman tune. On “Pagan Spain” a Moorish tinge permeates his muted lyricism, before an expansive flugelhorn dialogue with bass and drums rounds off a session which is a noteworthy addition to the trumpeter’s discography and fully deserves to be heard.

  2. Please get in touch with Ted for me, as my name is Cecil Hutcherson, a classmate of his. We last touched base in about 1990. I would so love to contact him or vice versa. Please help.

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