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About Daniel McBrearty

“His clarinet sound and style, while falling easily into the swing genre, does not sound like a copy of any of his historical predecessors, instead sounding fresh and personal” (Scott Yanow on Clarinet Swing)

About Daniel

Daniel McBrearty (pronounced Dan-ee-ell Mac-Bree-ah-tee), for short DanMcB (Dan Mac-Bee), is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter whose music includes jazz, soul, blues and celtic folk music.

Daniel’s melodic and swinging clarinet and saxophone has featured on several solo albums, and at festivals and clubs across Europe. His original songs mix his jazz influences with a lyrical, folk-like approach, accompanied by his finger-style guitar playing.

In 2019 he released a selection of 8 original songs “So Far From My Home”, recorded live at a house concert in Antwerp (where he lives), with cornet virtuoso Jon Birdsong accompanying. He is currently working on studio recordings of his songs, for release in 2020.

Daniel has performed at:

  • numerous festivals and clubs in Belgium (with own quartet, Blue Heathens, Equinox the Peacekeeper …)
  • Jazz In Duketown with Niglo Emerald (Den Bosch, NL)
  • Django Rheinhardt Festival with own quartet (Tilburg, NL)
  • Festivalle with Laurent Courtois (Sicily, IT)
  • sat in with Meschiya Lake, Tuba Skinny, Tim Laughlin, the Treme Brass Band (New Orleans, LA, USA)
  • Gypsy Festival with Four On Six Band (Lyon, FR)
  • Tenby Arts Festival with own quartet (UK)
  • with Laurent Courtois “Nuages de Swing” (Grenoble, FR)
How beautiful life can be … and that’s how he sounds, like a man who still follows his dreams. Everything is lived-in and contempLative, yet utterly musical” (Knopskaya on So Far From My Home -original review in Dutch)

Biography

Daniel was born and grew up in West Wales in 1964. His father was an artist with Irish roots from London’s East End, his mother born in Wales. Her grandfather was a Hungarian-Jewish concert violinist who lived in Australia and London, having fled Vienna in the 1930s. Their marriage was short-lived, and Daniel was fostered by a kind local family, before returning to live with his father at age 6.

Daniel turned to music and nature through a difficult childhood. Primarily a visual artist, Jim McBrearty loved music, particularly classical, jazz and Irish, and encouraged Daniel’s creativity. There was also a strong feeling for literature in the house.

After learning clarinet at school, Daniel discovered and fell in love with the swing era, and taught himself saxophone and guitar. He also absorbed traditional Irish songs, and as a teen in the 70s, followed new wave and ska music.

Leaving home at 17, Daniel became an electronics engineer, and played mostly sax, semi-professionally. A natural auto-didact, he also took a few lessons from top London player Jimmy Hastings. Diligent practice and playing in soul, funk and reggae bands at every chance bought slow progress. He developed fast ears, and learned to fit into diverse musical situations.

“There is a heartfelt tenderness about McBrearty’s playing” (Ian Mann, “The Jazz Man” on Clarinet Swing)

He was also experimenting with songwriting, and, now working in the pro-audio industry (he designed audio electronics for Royal Opera House) it was natural that he would get into home recording. A debut CD “DanMcB” of four tracks came out in 1996.

A few years later, he heard singer-songwriter Nick Harper in Bunjies Coffee House (a legendary folk club which had hosted Bob Dylan and Paul Simon years before). He was deeply inspired and when he returned home, he picked up the guitar and tried to sing.

“I had no voice at all! I used the sax to express myself. Actually I worked with friends from the Carribean gospel scene, and I envied their ability to sing. But when I tried – nothing came out. But seeing Nick own that room, just with guitar and voice – that really motivated me. I wanted to do that.”

Over the next 20 years, Daniel moved to Belgium and had a family. (His daughters are now almost grown and he is divorced.) In 2003 he recorded “The Udhav Shinde Trio”, a fusion of his jazz influences with Indian music, and later performed as a singer-songwriter.

He rediscovered his love for jazz clarinet on a trip to New Orleans in 2010. A well-received solo album “Clarinet Swing” followed. From 2011, he established himself as a clarinet and sax player on the Belgian and European jazz scene, performing in Italy, France, the Netherlands and the UK. He was a founder member of The Blue Heathens Jazz Band (writing and arranging three tunes for their debut album in 2015).

“This is a beautifully, charming set that’ll knock you right off your pins. Check it out.” (MidWest Record on Clarinet Swing)

In 2018, Daniel returned to working on his singer-songwriter repertoire, a break from sax and clarinet caused by a tendonitis problem.

“I finally found the confidence to sing my songs. I worked on my voice on and off over the years, and took some some lessons. I wanted to get to the point where I could get those songs across. In February this year I was asked to do a living room concert, which would also be recorded, for neighbourhood friends that run a high end audio dealership, Very Fine Solutions. They are very active in pushing music as a community thing – the project is called Music Unites.”

“I asked my friend Jon Birdsong, a fabulous cornet player and musician, who plays every style, to do the gig with me. I was nervous. It felt like a kind of test. If I could make this work, I figured that this would be my new direction. If not – well OK, I tried.”

“I am happy with the results. It was great fun to deliver these songs – some of which I’ve lived with for more than twenty years. Jon was perfect, the atmosphere was wonderful, and the recording is very honest. And the songs work. That’s what counts.”

“The good news is that my tendonitis is better so I’m all go again. Now I am looking to bring these different musical things together of course. We did a studio session recently where I could record some of this music with bass and drums, also we have video, and that worked well.”

“Really I can’t wait to get back to gigging – I’ve missed it a lot. From 2020, I am looking for more house concerts, small festivals, theaters – either to do solo shows or hopefully to get out there with a trio or quartet. That will make it possible for me to merge my jazz repertoire with my original songs. I think it will be exciting and interesting – I have the musicians, I have the material, and and I most certainly have the hunger to make it happen.”

Please contact Daniel directly via the contact page for all booking or press enquiries.

  1. Where The Dirty River Flows (live)
  2. Poor Butterfly (from Clarinet Swing) Daniel McBrearty / Dirk Van Den Linden / Jean Van Lint 1:26
  3. Uncle Belly's Leaning Shed (live)
  4. Let's Fall Out Of Love (with Blue Heathens Jazz Band) The Blue Heathens Jazz Band 1:20
  5. A Swing For Paolo (from Clarinet Swing) Daniel McBrearty / Dirk Van Den Linden / Jean Van Lint 1:02
  6. The Twice Nothing Rag (with Blue Heathens Jazz Band) The Blue Heathens Jazz Band 1:08
  7. Streams (with Udhav Shinde Trio) Udhav Shinde Trio 0:37