Jazz Profile: Daniel Iannucci

Daniel Iannucci  Photo: Frank Zipperer
Daniel Iannucci Photo: Frank Zipperer

by Eddie LeShure

“Danny is one of the most intuitive musicians I have ever known and a phenomenal bassist. He captures the essence of the music, knowing when to support the ensemble and when to step out as a soloist. The bassist has the hardest role in a jazz group. They have to be the pulse and harmonic foundation of the ensemble, plus be prepared to take a riveting solo. Danny is a master at all of these things!” ~ Jason DeCristofaro, percussionist

Originally from Raleigh, Daniel Iannucci has been living and performing in Western North Carolina for the past nine years. After receiving his Bachelor of Music from Western Carolina University in the spring of 2010 where he studied with Asheville bassist Eliot Wadopian, Danny relocated to Ashville.

“I’d already made a few connections in the area, so I stuck around to see if I could make some money. Plus I love climbing, hiking, sports….this area has all of that!”

Danny is currently involved in several local jazz, bluegrass and fusion projects including Brushfire Stankgrass as their full-time bassist, Shane Perlowin and Century Seconds, Steve Alford and Rational Discourse every Tuesday night at the Mothlight, Dave Zoll Trio out of Black Mountain, the Jason DeCristofaro Trio, and many other random jazz gigs. Plus he performs regularly with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, Hendersonville Philharmonic, Brevard Symphony and members of the Asheville Symphony.

“Danny is such an enjoyable bassist for two strong reasons. First, he does his work, which includes good technique and musicianship. Plus, his character seems highly suited to being a bassist – he’s supportive and works to make those he plays with sound good. I’ve really enjoyed watching (and hearing) him develop in the few years that I’ve known him. We’re lucky to have Danny as a part of the Asheville music community.” ~ Mark Guest, guitarist

“Growing up, I listened to a lot of metal, plus whatever other random bands my friends were into. I didn’t really discover jazz until I was about eighteen and met Pavel Wlosok at WCU. There I fell in love with Monk, Mingus, as well as classical music. I’d gotten started musically when I was about eight-years-old when my parents got my little brother a guitar.

“The logical thing to do was have a bass player in the band so I picked up on it. My brother quit a year later, but I never put the bass down. At WCU, I was the only bassist in the program for a while and super saturated myself in playing. I got into every ensemble I could fit into my schedule and learned to read music, which has proven to be one of my most valuable abilities when it comes to money gigs.

“I’ve been influenced by Cliff Burton, James Jamerson, Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clark, Flea, Edgar Myers and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pederson. Locally, I look up to Zack Page, Mike Holstein and Cody Wright. I’ve opened for Jimmy Herring twice and played with Kofi Burbridge several times — that was something else!

“I have been all over the East Coast and Colorado, and played many music festivals. I’ve only been gigging on my own for just four years now. It’s been a blast and I hope it’s only the beginning!”

I asked him what gets his juices flowing and his response was, “Playing live music with anyone who is open to uncertainty and the unknown… when I hear everything going on around me and there’s no judgment or negativity coming from anyone – only love. In my day-to-day life, it’s my wife Natalie, cooking, climbing, soccer, hiking or anything else that leads to the production of adrenalin!”

“Danny is that rare breed of young musician who encompasses great talent, a big heart and an incredibly positive attitude towards life. It’s always a great pleasure to perform with Danny and I look forward to watching his limitless talent emerge. One can only imagine what wondrous music he will share with us as he continues to grow!” ~ Michael Jefry Stevens, composer/pianist