David Joel
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David Joel

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Adult Contemporary


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Spiral Sky Review/Jazzchicago.net"

Guitarist David Joel is another musician of the generation that grew up listening to the Beatles, played progressive rock in bands and then studied/graduated from the conservatory (Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music!). That the man can write and play is no surprise, but that this recording is his first studio release as a leader somewhat is, because he truly does have talent. Surrounding himself with some top notch players from the Philly/NYC area on ÒSpiral Sky,Ó Joel may have taken his time to record, but he certainly gets the results right.

The David Joel Quartet is a working band and the connection between the players is obvious. Stylistically, the music is fusion, but not in the self-indulgent vein. One is reminded a bit of Pat MethenyÕs work, but with perhaps a bit less space and more of an edgy rock attitude (at times). Compositions are mature and exhibit an openness to the world of music that hints at a Mahavishnu Orchestra (with a touch of Philly soul). Some of JoelÕs effected guitar sounds are startling at first, but I like it! He also shows an appealing touch on acoustic guitar on tunes like the meditative ÒAs It May End Óand folksy ÒLittle Bear Prelude.Ó And while JoelÕs angular guitar work is excellent, he allows everyone in the band a place to shine. Bassist Paul Gehman proves to be a melodic and rhythmic delight, while keyboardist John Stenger adds some sparkling work. The drum chair is able handled by Dan Monaghan, who keeps it all together on these subtly challenging arrangements.

The music itself is a bit of a throw back to the Õ70s, but thanks to the internet, listeners are no longer enslaved to the whims of the trendy and currently fashionable, and can enjoy the best sounding music from any time or influence when we want it, radio be damned. ÒThe Dance of LifeÓ is a positive and catchy opener, while ÒEastern Truth,Ó ÒWestern LiesÓ and the ÒOther Side of the SunÓ showcase band energy. ÒThe Star-Spangled GospelÓ sounds like Hendrix walked in on a Booker-T recording session, ÒLittle BearÓ is a gorgeous love song, while the wonderful title track lives up to its name with its soaring flights.

David Joel is a guitarist you will want to check out if you are open to original music fusing a variety of influences, and I am hopeful ÒSpiral SkyÓ will help to spread his worthy music out beyond the Philadelphia area. - Jazzchicago.net

"Spiral Sky Review/The Run-off Groove"

Jazz guitarist David Joel has been doing his thing for many years, not only in jazz but also making himself known as a classical guitarist. For his debut album Spiral Sky (Turning Point), which is performed with his Quartet, it's the kind of jazz which will bring to mind the best works from John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, and Larry Coryell.

What I hear in Joel's music is his ability to play and embrace all kinds of styles, to the fluidity of the playing itself. Judging from the song titles and the liner notes, it seems Joel is a very spiritual player, and he brings that to the forefront. In "The Dance Of Life" it truly sounds like what the song title implies, a dance where one has to go and explore this existence and try to find our reason for being here. His playing is subtle but it works beautifully. Then there's a two part track beginning with "Eastern Truth", where he and the band (Dan Monaghan on drums, Paul Gehman on bass, and John Stenger on keyboards) play with the kind of aura that is reminiscent of many of Herbie Hancock's Warner Bros.-era albums, or the Eastern mysticism that was a part of a good portion of jazz fusion in the late 60's and early 70's (especially Coryell). You hear Joel and Gehman comminucating with each other as if they're trying to convey a message to the listener. After this great 11 minute track, they devote another 11 minutes to "Western Lies", and it seems obvious what they're trying to say. It takes awhile, but then out of nowhere Joel begins a solo that sounds fierce and wicked, perhaps his anger being conveyed in the music, and suddenly there is a major shift in tone for the rest of the album. One might wonder if he is touching upon the downward spiral of the world, and perhaps the best thing to do is find a way to look up to the "Spiral Sky", which he does in the 11 minute title track.

Joel's Quartet touch on everything from hard bop to bebop, smooth ECM-styled tranquility to incredible fusion, and they do each of them with equal passion, and that comes from musicians who are in tune with the music and each other. He's a guitarist that guitar heads will love, because he can be cool, calm, and collected on one part of the song, and then he brings all of these euphoric emotions to where you can feel the intensity, only for him to hold back and allow the band to shine, which is what all great jazz bands are about. This is a great jazz band, all great musicians in their own right, helping out a guitarist who has to be heard to be believed.

By John Book

(Spiral Sky is available from CDBaby.)

http://therunoffgroove.blogspot.com/ - therunoffgroove.blogspot.com

"Spiral Sky Allaboutjazz.com Review"

ÒIt is much harder to recognize the inherent merit of any work when one has a bias against its form. Despite Spiral SkyÕs fusion stance, however, guitarist David Joel has created a musical opus of extreme beauty.

Each piece is like a well-crafted short story, with the ability to invoke a whole gamut of thoughts and emotions. The compositions, all by the Joel, are unique yet complementary to each other. In a time when most of what passes as fusion comes dangerously close to instrumental pop and elevator music, JoelÕs compositions are rich with substance without sacrificing form, and are extremely well-shaped. The richly mellifluous tracks are embellished by soaring improvised lines that go far away from the basic theme without losing sight of the melody.

The four musicians demonstrate a close rapport, forming a cohesive unit during the ensemble work, and unique individualities when soloing. The music is what one expects from a jazz-rock fusion recording, with a guitar and keyboard front-line supported by bass and drums, electric sounds and virtuoso solos. There are elements of gospel, funk and world music judiciously sprinkled in to spice things up a bit, with some references to the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

The highlights of this extremely enjoyable and rewarding listen are the complementary tracks ÒEastern TruthÓ and ÒWestern Lies.Ó

For those who enjoy fusion, Joel and his quartet have recorded a near masterpiece of the genre which only barely falls short of rivaling classics including the Mahavishnu OrchestraÕs The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia, 1972) and Weather ReportÕs Heavy Weather (Columbia, 1977).
~ Hrayr Attarian, Allaboutjazz.com
- Hrayr Attarian

"Spiral Sky Themusesmuse.com Review"

The David Joel Quartet have done very well on ÒSpiral Sky.Ó This album is complete and well-rounded with songs like, Òeastern truth,Ó Òwestern lies,Ó Òthe star-spangled gospel,Ó and Òspiral sky.Ó David Joel rips through songs with his heartfelt solos, displaying an attractive guitar tone as well. ÊÊÊÊÊ

In Òeastern truth,Ó a catchy bass line starts off and later Joel strikes the acoustic guitar as if to call for an awakening. In Òspiral sky,Ó Joel shreds at the peak of a solo and his apparent skills are accompanied by John Stenger playing magnificently on keyboards. To top it, Paul Gehman plays a smooth bass solo, and as they all come back together, drummer Dan Monaghan displays his savvy chops, sounding much like a rumbling engine, bursting with rolls and power. This is all in one song. Traces of Stevie Ray Vaughan may be heard in the bluesy Òthe star-spangled gospelÓ as David Joel uses a technique in his solo that sends the guitar into a stretched howl. ÊÊÊÊÊÊ

Besides being great musicians technically, this quartet allow each other to solo and be heard. Everyone takes the lead in Òwestern lies,Ó showing what kind of skill and power they have as a quartet. Monaghan plays brilliantly on the drums as he erupts into a drum solo that quickly grabs attention.ÊÊÊÊÊ

The David Joel Quartet play very impressively on ÒSpiral SkyÓ and I hope they continue to create music together.
~Reid Murray, Themusesmuse.com (http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/mrev-davidjoelquartet-spiral.html)
- Reid Murray

"Spiral Sky The Philadelphia Inquirer Review"

The David Joel Quartet
Spiral Sky
(www.davidjoel.net Ê***)

Guitarist David Joel assembles a surprisingly nuanced outing for his first CD. The Philly-based Joel is a 1986 graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music and holds a masters degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.

His quartet with keyboardist John Stenger, bassist Paul Gehman, and drummer Dan Monaghan can tend toward the nonthreatening, derivative, pop end of jazz. Yet that doesn't describe his whole range or even make him unlikable to many people.

Joel's compositions and the quartet's playing consistently conjure up unexpected sounds that stretch a listener's concepts without head-butting them. "The Star Spangled Gospel" is a soulful, Hendrix-like treatment, and the title track is big-toned and Metheny-esque.

"Western Lies" comes with an impressive cascade of sounds and some requisite guitar frenzy, while "Eastern Truth" has these kung fu-like sound effects that thankfully give way to some serious playing.

- K.S. - Karl Stark

"Spiral Sky Review/New Zealand"

Spiral Sky by The David Joel Quartet takes us through the whole spectrum of the modern jazz genre. Straight off the bat ÒThe Dance of LifeÓ is perhaps my favorite track on the cd. Light and breezy this could be the perfect track of the long New Zealand summer we have coming up. Rich flowing cords from JoelÕs guitar and very tasty Rhodes piano from John Stenger. Tracks two and three are the longest on the cd release clocking in at 10:54 & 11:21 respectively and both tracks have a wonderful jazz-fusion feel with ÒWestern LiesÓ in particular containing some very strong drumming from Dan Monaghan. The only other member of the Quartet I havenÕt mentioned so far is bassist Paul Gehman. Gehman stays in the background for much of the cd but delivers a strong platform at all times especially on ÒEastern TruthÓ where he lays down a rich bassline. ÒAs It May EndÓ is a very spacious ballad with David on acoustic guitar and some dreamy Rhodes from Stenger. ÒThe Star Spangled GospelÓ is, I guess, JoelÕs homage to Jimi Hendrix Ð a blues infused piece with wonderful organ accompaniment from Stenger. Overall one comes away with the feeling of a very well rounded jazz-fusion band. Joel at times sounds like Metheny, Hendricks and others that he may have been influenced by but he has his own voice that shines through. David Joel is a new name to me and one that I would like to hear from again in the future.

Mark Robinson, George FM - Auckland, New Zealand

- George FM - Auckland, New Zealand


Release: The David Joel Quartet Live at Chris'
Release Date: September 15, 2003

Release: Spiral Sky
Release Date: October 1st, 2007

We complete a fantastic radio promotion campaign in 2007-2008 with airplay on over 150 stations worldwide.

Tracks receiving airplay:
(8 of 9 tracks from our cd received airplay)

The Dance of Life
Eastern Truth
Western Lies
As It May End
The Star Spangled Gospel
Spiral Sky
Little Bear
Other Side of the Sun




Music has probably been the sole motivating factor throughout my life. The genesis of my musical adventure was begotten upon seeing "Yellow Submarine" on a black and white t.v. in 4th Grade in 1972. I immediately started guitar lessons which evolved into playing in rock bands throughout jr. high and high school. At a crossroads of needing greater musical understanding and insight/experiences, I attended Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory in Boston earning my bachelors and masters degrees respectively. This led me to an instructor's position at Berklee (1989 - 1992).

Along the way I've been inspired by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Traffic, etc. In college it was Wes Montgomery, Miles, Trane, Bill Evans and Lenny Breau; then onto Stravinsky, Beethoven and Ravel.

The music of my quartet was inspired by those formidable names as well as many others including my experiences of living and performing in Japan and Europe and all over the east coast. This group has evolved since its 1988 beginnings in Boston, featuring many talented artists, with whom I am all the better for, having had their musical and personal friendships. Currently, with Philadelphia as our home base, we perform regularly in the tri-state area having performed at: Media Jazz Festival, Collingswood Music Festival, Chris' Jazz Cafe, Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, The World Cafe Live and others. The David Joel Quartet was recently selected for inclusion in the 2008 Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour Artist Roster (www.pennpat.org).

Our collective musical voice is fundamentally jazz based. The many seemingly disparate styles which permeate our compositions and improvisations culminate into a distinct and unique genre of "electric-jazz." Spiral Sky, our new studio recording, is that amalgam, infused with life from my band mates. It features an array of old and new all-original music which takes the listener on an aesthetic journey through many different feels, colors and moods.


Spiral Sky by The David Joel Quartet takes us through the whole spectrum of the modern jazz genre. Joel at times sounds like Metheny, Hendrix and others that he may have been influenced by but he has his own voice that shines through.
Overall one comes away with the feeling of a very well rounded jazz-fusion band.
~Mark Robinson, George FM - Auckland, New Zealand

"Sometimes what's missed in electronic jazz/fusion is a slowly steeped fire. This has it."
~Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson - WXBC Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

"David Joel is a talented guitarist and he leads his quartet through a very good set of contemporary jazz. The songs are reminiscent of Weather Report with the addition of guitar. Occasionally, Joel cuts loose and shows off his considerable chops. RIYL: Weather Report (3 stars)."
~Les French, WMEB-Orono, ME

"Guitarist David Joel assembles a surprisingly nuanced outing for his first CD. Joel's compositions and the quartet's playing consistently conjure up unexpected sounds that stretch a listener's concepts without head-butting them. "The Star Spangled Gospel" is a soulful, Hendrix-like treatment, and the title track is big-toned and Metheny-esque.
...an impressive cascade of sounds and some requisite guitar frenzy...some serious playing."
~Karl Stark, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Exciting progressive electric jazz which is sure to attract younger listeners!"
~Peter Kuller, Radio Adelaide - Australia

"Spiral Sky" #1 on the Pennsylvania Roots Artist Radio Airplay Chart, week ending December 7, 2007.

"Spiral Sky" #7 on the !earshot Jazz Chart, Canada, weeks of October 30 and November 6, 2007.

"Spiral Sky" was listed as one of the "Most Added" CDs on the CMJ Jazz Chart, Issue 1032.

"I gave another listen and again enjoyed your talents as a player and composer. It sounds like your imagination and spirit are in excellent shape and that you are pursuing your own special voice."
~Jon Damian
International guitarist, arranger, educator, Professor - Berklee College of Music

"What I like about this CD is the diversity of moods and colors as you go from tune to tune. There's s sense of unique and honest expression throughout."
~Ken Pullig
Chairman, Jazz Composition Department, Berklee College of Music

"This is the music of a talented guitarist experimenting in the influences that he has been exposed to. The other members of the band who make up the quartet are along for the ride and provide support on the road to discovery. If you like solid guitar playing, a powerful back up band and a fusion style, then check out Spiral Sky."
~Paul J. Youngman, Jazzreview.com

"David Joel and company paint landscapes of sound, starry meditative explorations and turn the listener to traveler, inviting them to let the quartet to be a guide to musical challenges and unique structures."
~Greg Trout, Magnaphonemagazine.com