Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Benje Daneman: Improvising on the Bible

The Good Book meets "The Real Book" on the trumpeter's debut album

Benje Daneman
Benje Daneman. Photo by Grant Beachy

Benje Daneman is slightly uncomfortable with the idea that you might hear his new album, a 10-part suite based on Biblical scripture, as explicitly religious. “I don’t want to become that Christian jazz guy, because that’s not what it’s all about,” the trumpeter says in a recent phone interview from Michigan, where he lives with his family.

Not that jazz and religion can’t be intertwined. Alice and John Coltrane, of course, were “blatantly spiritual,” notes Daneman, who counts Be Still, an album of hymns released in 2012 by trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas, as one of his favorite recordings. But Daneman, who is 34 and describes himself as an “on-again, off-again Christian,” hopes you won’t think his record is an act of evangelism.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published