We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Reich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Becoming a jazz musician was not a conscious choice; it was never a part of what I envisioned for myself professionally. I sang my whole life, but it didn’t occur to me that I could pursue performing as a career. I started college in music education, and when I decided that wouldn’t be a good fit, I changed majors, but continued studying classical music. It was a few years later, after giving a solo concert of French songs and arias, that I finally acknowledged the pull to pursue music professionally. I continued with other interests, working in software support, ballroom dancing, and as a veterinary technician, but maintained music, singing with the Houston Grand Opera chorus, beginning to study jazz at Houston Community College, and finally starting to gig as a jazz musician in 2006. It was a long road with lots of learning and adventures; by the time I began performing jazz, it felt like the right fit for me from creative, emotional, and community perspectives, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
A strong underlying thread in my musical journey has been growth, tied to curiosity, connection, and community. I have followed my interests, and the suggestions and requests of my colleagues and supporters. This has led me to develop a large repertoire and specialize in different areas of jazz, including French jazz, jazz manouche, and trad jazz. In the past few years I’ve started playing snare and guitar on gigs. With the wide array of musical styles has come working with a wide array of musicians, clients, and music lovers. For me, this is a fundamental aspect of music and being a musician: community and connection. Music brings people together, music inspires, music brings pleasure and helps us connect with ourselves and with others. That’s where my focus lies.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston has so much to offer. During the day, I would send everyone to Hermann Park, the Museum of Natural Science, the Menil Collection & the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Rothco Chapel, the Houston Zoo, Discovery Green, the Houston Arboretum, the Art Car Museum, the Space Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (just for a start). For music, I would send them to hear Opera in the Heights, the Houston Grand Opera, Cezanne, the Houston Symphony. I would invite them to join me at MKT Bar either for my own Sunday Brunch or one of the other great bands that perform there, and at Ivy Bar & Bistro for Boomtown Brass Band’s Thursday night residency. There is so much great live music in town and it changes weekly. For food, I would suggest they drive around and sample every taco truck in town, particularly in Near Northside.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people have supported me in and contributed to my professional journey. Gratitude and appreciation to my friend and collaborator, bassist/composer Thomas Helton. He was an early mentor when I started performing, and through the years he has included me in a wide variety of projects, from trad jazz to avant-garde, and introduced me to some incredible musicians and colleagues. Gratitude also to Joe LoCascio, my jazz teacher, Conrad Kao, my first gig partner, Erin Wright, years of early collaboration, Roger Aggoun, host of my longest-running and a very growth-inducing residency, Michele Brangwen of the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble for continuously helping me stretch and grow as a musician, performer and composer, Pin Lim, photographer, videographer, and music supporter extraordinaire, José Figueroa, who promoted and connected us to the Houston dance community, and more dear friends, collaborators and supporters, starting with my dad, Cliff Boyce, my brother, Brian Boyce, and Margot Perez, Carol Morgan, Andrew Lienhard, David Robertson, Stephan Badreau, Josh Breier, Ray Wilson, Mark Seale, Paul Glasse, Aaron Arnold, Bobo & Jeannette, Alex, Sean Hopper, Peggy Stern, Russ Scanlon, Mitch Watkins, Bruce Saunders, Michael-Paul Gurulé, Arthur Knapp, Ermelinda Cuellar, Tianna Hall, Raquel Cepeda, Michele White, and Wade Williams. And gratitude to those who are no longer with us: Kelly Lancaster, Joe Romano, Joe Hanlon, John Krueger, and my mother, Mary Jeanne Boyce.
Pin Lim KT Yarbrough