After moving to Cleveland from Chicago four years ago, Dan Bruce assembled one of the larger experimental music ensembles in Northeast Ohio. Dubbed Dan Bruce’s: beta collective, the group will release its latest album, Time To Mind the Mystics, this month on Shifting Paradigm Records. The group includes many of the top performers of improvised music in the area.
“At the core is the idea that our embrace of technological innovation cannot come at the sacrifice of generational knowledge and ancient wisdom,” says Bruce in a press release. “Our humanity needs to be celebrated, and technology should play a supporting role”.
The group’s debut album was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, and Bruce shows how much he’s grown as a composer on Time To Mind the Mystics.
“The approach on this album is similar to the last; write music with specific people in mind and leave enough space in the music for them to stretch out and make it their own,” he says. “I’ve expanded the textural palette by adding trombone, vibraphone and synthesizers, and group members are doubling on more instruments such as bass clarinet and melodica. It really provided a ridiculous amount of timbral variation to work with, and I’m very excited about how it turned out. I’m more excited than ever to be composing and performing music. I wanted that energy to come through in this album.”.
The jazzy title track features a riveting guitar riff, and a personal experience inspired "The Walk," another album highlight.
“During a time of some medical issues, I was going to physical therapy every week that involved dry needling — don’t ever do this,” Bruce says. “When I left the appointment, I could hardly walk I was in so much pain. Soon I realized that the pain also kept me more in the moment than usual, so I began taking long walks immediately after my therapy each week. Around this time, I read an article claiming that people relate most to music that matches the tempo of their stride. This piece is based on my stride, which at the time had some hiccups in it. This is also the soundtrack for my wonderful/painful/mindful walks.”
Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].