Introducing our newest Villager, Daniel Lauter. Daniel's contribution to our Village is the gift of music. His lively and passionate performances at the Station continually have our guests dancing in their seats, creating a vibe that is not easily replicated. In addition to local gigs, Daniel also performs out east with his Long Island based group, LUMA (Life Unity Music Amplified). If you have not yet had the chance to catch one of Daniel's performances at the Station, we highly recommend clearing your calendars for his next show on October 22. Keep reading to acquaint yourself with this very talented Villager!
CS: Many of the songs your band performs at the Station are original tracks. Do you have a preference between composing and playing?
DL: The essence of jazz is improvisation. Often as I’m playing, while I am doing tunes with structure and melodies that I write, when I am playing with a certain level of musician who can musically communicate I’ll start to improvise on the spot within the song structure. A lot of times I’ll be practicing, just blown’ at home and as I’m improvising a melody will start to sing in my head so I’ll record it or write it down, and it becomes a tune. So I compose through playing. I rarely just sit down and start to write a composition out on paper first. Usually the composition comes from either being in the flow of playing or it just pops into my head. Sometimes walking down the street a bass line pops in and the same happens, I’ll start to build on that. All the tunes we play in the quartet are original. Sometimes the whole quartet will be in improv mode together. That’s live.
CS: Our community may be unaware that in addition to being an accomplished jazz musician, you are also a Meditation DJ. Can you please describe what is means to be a Meditation DJ?
DL: Sure, have been involved in teaching meditation and mindfulness for many years, using found and sacred sound objects to write ambient and global meditation music. Some people like to meditate to one type of sound, others stillness and breath, others light, color, walking or other types of motion. So in my work with teachers and students I try to accommodate their needs by creating a palette of choice for how they can best benefit from mindfulness and meditation. It’s like spinning vinyl. Sometimes you mix one thing with another, like a DJ, in this case a modality of meditation. Other times you just stay deeply in the groove and riff or improvise as well.
CS: How did the practices of meditation and mindfulness come to be such an integral part of you life?
DL: When I was in my 20’s I started to have really powerful clarity dreams. Learned to play didjeridu and circular breathing in my dreams, began to work with blue healing light in other dreams, others were about compassion. When these type of things occur they become life changing on certain levels. I felt like there was a reason these things were happening so I started working within the field of the healing arts, in sound therapy, ultimately received Certification as a Sound Practitioner. Meditation and mindfulness teachings have been very influential and helpful for me to transform emotions, gain confidence, work through stress and adversity. The more it helped me I wanted to share these practices with others.
CS: If you could have front seat tickets to any concert of you choice, who would you choose to see?
DL: I would have loved to see Miles and Hendrix live together, didn’t get a chance to see either. Saw James Brown, Bob Marley, Ravi Shankar, Cab Calloway. Wayne Shorter was a big inspiration, saw him play live too. Still on the list for sure is Tina Turner, Shakira, Missy Elliot.
CS: What is the biggest challenge jazz musicians face in 2016?
DL: I think a large challenge is there are not a lot of places for people to play. For as many musicians as there are, there are not a lot of clubs that have good live music. People are also not as used to going out regularly locally. The tendency sometimes is to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for concert tickets to see pop stars. That is why I was so thrilled to see Chappaqua Station come about! The room is so nice and the vibe is warm!