Biography

Daniel Barnes “knows his way with a tune” said AllAboutJazz.com

“Barnes compositions specialise in relentlesly thrusting music of broad appeal and warmth that give bandsmen broad latitude to wail”  The Toronto Star. 

Daniel currently leads the band “Barnes & Woldemichael”, Canada’s foremost purveyors of “Ethio-Jazz”. It features Ethiopian born saxophonist Girma Woldemichael playing Daniel’s original compositions which are embued with Ethiopian music tradition. Production of a full length album of this project is underway.

Daniel’s distinction in World music is great having toured internationally for a decade with “The Aretha Franklin  
of Ethiopia” (Time Magazine) Ms. Aster Aweke. These tours took him to five continents including Africa itself. Daniel drums on Aster's influential live concert video “Aster Live in London” recorded in 1998. He has also toured and recorded with another giant of Ethiopian pop music Mr. Mahmoud Ahmed. Back in Toronto Daniel composed and drummed for The Flying Bulgar Klezmer band for a decade, garnering another JUNO nomination for 2003’s “Sweet Return”. Dora Mava Moore Award winner Theresa Tova had Daniel drum on two of her jewish music CD’s and he has recorded with Egyptian Canadian artist Maryem Hassan. He's toured with Latin Jazzer Eliana Cuevas and Caribbean super group Canefire.

Daniel’s two CDs/Albums to date have made him a staple on jazz radio in Canada. 2007’s “Classic Beauties” celebrates the mainstream acoustic jazz tradition through his eight original compositions. Daniel’s debut CD “Culmination” from 2003, has a broader focus stylistically with Latin, Brazilian, Reggae, Mainstream Acoustic and Rhythm and Blues genres employing 15 musicians in all. Wholenote Magazine called it a “varied and interesting programme” that is “consistently rewarding”. Both self produced and independently released “albums” showcase Daniel’s drumming, composing, arranging and production skills. In support of these releases his live act has performed at The Toronto and Montreal International Jazz Festivals, many local Festivals and was broadcast in performance from TV Ontario. Tracks from “Culmination” were used in the documentary film “BeyondThe Sea” and were included in JazzFm’s compilation CD “New Standards Vol. 1”.

As a sideman drummer Daniel has, throughout his career, supported a top echelon of jazz talent in Canada including Order of Canada Recipient Joe Sealy (recording his JUNO winning CD “Africville Suite” in 1996), Richard Underhill (recording his JUNO nominated CD “Moment in Time” in 2007) as well as Jane Bunnett, Holly Cole, Hilario Duran, Jackie Richardson, Micah Barnes, John Alcorn, Heather Bambrick, Carol Welsman, D.D. Jackson and others plus visiting American artists Ron Westray, Don Braden (recording his “Come Together" CD in 2012“), Rick Margitza and Dizzy Reese.


Early in his career Daniel recorded and/or played live with Chart Topping Pop Acts “Bass is Base”, “The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir” and “John James and the Mothers of Hope”. At age 16 he started regular professional work with The Micah Barnes Trio rising to local prominence through club, concert stage and TV performances and opening for international touring acts in Toronto. In his early 20’s he co-led The Daniel Barnes/David Restivo Quintet who wrote and performed contemporary instrumental jazz in local clubs and concerts to critical acclaim. 

Daniel was born into an artistic family in the cultural hub of downtown Toronto, Canada in 1965. His father Milton was a “classical” music composer of international renown, his mother Lilly is a published author and scriptwriter for television and radio and brother Micah singer songwriter formerly with The Nylons. Daniel found his calling at age 5 and is largely self taught. He received some private drum, harmony and theory instruction from Jim Blackely, Claude Ranger and Paul Read in Toronto. He attended The Banff Centre Summer Jazz Workshop in the late 1980's.

Daniel endorses Gretsch Drums, Mural Diril Cymbals & Headhunter Sticks and Creations.