Alto Saxophonist Trey Daniels’ multi-faceted artistry is influenced by an old school Gospel Jazz vibe. Although having played every Sunday when he was growing up, at New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in his hometown of Tampa, the spiritual side of Daniels’ musical soul comes from an even deeper place than most Christian-raised musicians. Born at two lbs., 8 ounces, as an infant he was unable to use his own lungs to breathe – so, he says, “It’s truly a miracle that I am able to do what I do today, and a testament to the grace of God. It’s also the reason I am able to play with such passion, energy and honesty.”
Those characteristics have been part of Trey’s musical life from the beginning until now. Attracted by Atlanta’s vibrant neo-soul scene, Trey moved there immediately after he finished college at Florida State University and began establishing his presence as a force in local clubs with regular performances. His vibrant live shows and networking connections allowed him to soon form his own group, the Trey Daniels Band. Founded on a brotherhood and friendship that transcends their collective musical journey, the group plays regularly in the city. Trey has also performed at the Columbus Jazz Festival, a VIP After party during the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and at the July 4th Extravaganza at Lenox Square. On his own, Trey also jammed with tracks during a 20 minute open performance slot last June in Times Square, NYC.
Trey recently launched his philanthropy called “Music on a Mission,” in which he visits schools, teaches kids about jazz and encourages their own musical dreams before performing a set. He’s done it locally at several Atlanta schools and plans to take the program nationally in 2015.
“To succeed in a competitive music industry, an artist has to have a distinctive sound that’s attached to a defining story,” says Trey. “Nobody has a story like mine. As an artist, I am able to convey emotions beyond what lyrics can do to bring the audience along for the emotional journey with me. My story is one of being granted a second chance at life and living it to the fullest. I intend to share my passion of music with as many people as possible.”
Even before he was lighting up the scene in Atlanta as leader of The Trey Daniels Band, the sax virtuoso performed in his home region of Tampa Bay at such prestigious venues as Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater with Pieces of a Dream and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Trey has also played with several jazz ensembles at Florida State University under the direction of Leon Anderson. He was selected as the Performer of the Year at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa and performed for Lionel Richie and Lalah Hathaway in New Orleans, LA at the 103rd Alpha Phi Alpha National Convention.
A dynamic, infectious live performer and bandleader, Trey creates an exciting synergy with his audience and enjoys the impromptu nature of certain moments where his band and the crowd feed off each other’s powerful dual energy. Unlike artists who perform each show essentially the same way, Trey says that his fans “should be prepared for anything.” He loves to get up and dance, do call and response segments at random times and can often be seen playing while standing on chairs and tables.
“One of the most eventful memories was after I played my first solo in church in front of hundreds of people, and saw that I received a standing ovation,” he says. “I knew then that God had a plan for my life…”