Danny Brill
Danny Brill | Biography

Danny Brill currently lives with his daughter Jessie and son Keith in Ossining, New York, but his musical story starts while growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Danny was exposed to a lot of music at an early age by his parents. Although not musicians themselves, they were great music lovers and usually had classical music playing on an old RCA phonograph all weekend. By the age of 5 Danny had heard Beethoven piano concertos enough to know that he wanted to learn to play the piano. He surprised his parents by announcing this desire, (usually it's the parents who suggest the kid start piano lessons!), but they were thrilled and promptly enrolled him in a music theory class at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

A year later, at age 6, he started piano lessons at the same music school. After 6 years of formal classical training, Danny's family moved from Cleveland Heights (living in Rhode Island, Virginia, and suburbs of New York City over the years) but he continued studying classical piano through high school, attending Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, where he also started playing electric organ. But it was his classical training that served as the foundation and technical basis for all that followed musically.

During this same time Danny had a parallel interest in popular music, starting with the Beatles, and continuing with all the great music of the 1960's. In the early 70's, now a student at Vassar College, he was making frequent weekend forays into New York City with a group of friends to see concerts at the old Fillmore East. And in May of 1971 he saw a mind-blowing show that changed the course of his life, it was Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's first stop on their first U.S. tour. He still remembers that concert vividly, and in fact has dedicated his first solo CD, Better Late Than Never, to Keith Emerson for being such a huge musical influence as a keyboard player. He now knew what he wanted to do professionally. And musically he had been shown how to combine classical elements and compositional techniques with rock to make what would become later known as 'progressive rock'. He became very influenced musically by other bands such as Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Gentle Giant, to name a few.

After college he spent several years playing in bands professionally, doing some original material that was in the progressive rock genre, by now, having learned synthesizer as well as organ and piano. Some of these groups were excellent, if not very well known, but none got as far as a record deal. (It wasn't so easy to simply put out your own record back then!) By the mid 70's disco was dominating the music scene, progressive rock seemed to be on the way out, and making a living playing that type of music was becoming increasingly difficult. After the last of these groups, (Liquide Lighte), broke up in 1976 Danny moved to New York City working at various dead end jobs and playing briefly in several ill-fated bands before finally deciding that he'd had enough of the of the starving artist existence. It had been fun, but it was time to establish something a bit more secure to fall back on in lieu of a musical career, so he founded Keyboard Instrument Rentals (a company specializing in renting and leasing keyboards), in New York City, which he still owns and operates.

For many years he had all but given up playing, but had never quite completely given up on the dream of a career as a recording artist. Finally, in 2004, he began playing a bit and writing some new material, just for his own enjoyment, without any serious thought of doing anything with it commercially. But about this same time he got together with his friend, the drummer Michael Sciotto, and played him some of his new material. Mike was so enthused, he convinced Danny to embark on recording a CD, which they co-produced together. Figuring that he wasn't getting any younger, he thought if he was ever going to do anything again with his music, this was the time for a second attempt at a musical career. His resulting debut solo CD is aptly titled Better Late Than Never. In a way it was over 30 years in the making, because a few of the songs have their beginnings that long ago. But most of the material is new or updated, and the result is a contemporary progressive rock sound.

For more details on Danny's Better Late Than Never CD visit the Audio Samples page.

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