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About

Hailing from Decatur, Illinois, Stan embarked on his musical odyssey as a high school jazz drummer. His MacArthur High band soared to acclaim, clinching two prestigious "DeeBee" awards from Down Beat magazine in 1981 and 1982. By '83, they were even recording one of Stan's compositions. Post-graduation, his path led him to Illinois State University, where he honed his craft in music composition under the guidance of Roque Cordero and jazz under James Boitos. During this phase, he crafted a diverse repertoire spanning classical and jazz.

Stan co-founded the groundbreaking fusion ensemble, Abstract Notion, before making his way to Minneapolis. There, his musical prowess shone through in collaborations with Marnie Jones, contributing to her Billboard-charting New Age album, as well as working on sessions for the Commodores and various TV/film projects.

In 1991, Stan joined Ingrid Chavez's European tour band, marking another milestone in his career. His debut solo project, "Distance," earned accolades and featured an approved rendition of Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street." Stan's sophomore album, "Sweet," is a conceptual piece that weaves the tale of an orphaned juvenile dinosaur, with each track serving as a contemporary tone poem. Drawing inspiration from his research on Jurassic dinosaurs, this album skillfully merges scientific insights with a captivating fictional narrative, offering a unique glimpse into prehistoric life.

After years spent scoring for film, composing, and performing with the rock band Blackfish Movement, and the jazzy group Jessie Street. Stan has found his way back to his jazz roots. Currently, he is in the midst of crafting several exciting new releases of original music. Stay tuned for more sonic adventures from this multifaceted artist!

Press

Press

Distance

Press

Distance

"Stan O'Daffer's Distance is a promising debut from a keyboardist in my hometown of Minneapolis. It's an album of varied textures and melodies, spanning more than a few styles and moods and is a treat for those of you who enjoy your recordings musically diverse and yet cohesive in technical proficiency.


Origins, the album opener is an up-tempo song, played mostly on piano (once you get past the synth chorus opening). Stan also plays assorted percussion on the album and there are some subtle percussive effects here. The song displays Stan's passionate intensity and softer side, too. Freeway, another up-tempo number, is a great tune. It definitely conveys the mood of driving at fast speeds. Stan's background is in jazz and this song certainly mirrors that fact. The ivories get a real workout. Distance, with piano and various synthesizers working together, is a ballad that's tender but never sappy. Stan blends his various keyboards well, only slightly erring in this song with a violin sound that seems a bit loud in the mix. When solo stings are synthesized, I like them kept in the background, while a real violin has natural warmth that plays better in the foreground. Still, the beautiful melody is enough to carry this song to a nice finish. Northshore, has a quasi-funky rhythm, kind of loping I suppose, that may take some getting used to, but I get a kick out of it. One of the things I admire about Distance is that Stan takes some musical risk throughout the recording. By the way, this song also features the expert acoustic guitar playing of Billy McLaughlin.

On some songs, the electronics take a center stage, like on the sprightly tune, Fragile, again counterpointed by Billy McLaughlin's guitar, or the has-to-be-heard-to-be-believed Snowflakes. Despite its name, this song could be from a yet-to-be-released Tim Burton movie (maybe a sequel to that great comedy, Beetlejuice). It's scary, funny, weird, and happy all at once. Autumn is another somber ballad, and a good one at that, with just the right amount of wistfulness in the music to remind me of barren trees and walks alone through the fallen leaves. The album closes with Good-Bye, a nice piano and synth song, wonderfully up-tempo with a mixture of joy and sadness that is indicative of what good-byes are, I suppose.

Distance reminds me a little of Wayne Gratz's Follow Me Home in its great balance of very polished piano playing with imaginative and proficient synthesizer work. Stan is a gifted pianist and also someone with a quirky compositional style, and I mean that in the best possible way. He has made a highly individualistic recording, and one of very high merits, too." - Wind and Wire Magazine

"Stan O'Daffer has played with many people over the years including Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck. His music has charted in Billboard and he's received praise from Peter Gabriel for a cover version he did of "Mercy Street." So...why haven't you heard of him? I don't know. But I do know that if O'Daffer can continue to make albums such as Distance, you'll be hearing a lot about him in the future. His playing is that of a virtuoso but his sense of good taste is well developed. The music is simple and beautiful enough that average listeners are not disoriented while at the same time it is technically proficient enough that even the most accomplished musicians will be able to appreciate it. Thanks to artists like Yanni and John Tesh, "new age" music has been stereotyped recently as listened to by the same people who buy Michael Bolten records. Hopefully Stan O'Daffer will change that. We've already seen it happen to country music.


This disc is almost an hour of aural relaxation with none of the gimmicks you've come to expect from the major label version of the genre. In other words, it wasn't recorded in an ancient venue in Greece and there are no plush synths. I recommend it to anybody who is looking for the perfect music to play in the background at parties or to sit and relax to." -Kathode Ray Music

"For the quieter moments, Stan O'Daffer serves up a nice entree of piano, spiced just right with an occasional syntesizer, acoustic guitar, or unusual percussion piece, i.e. rainsticks, djembe, doumbek, or dohlke. A lot of O'Daffer's compositions are swirling and plenteous arrangements that fill the room with a sense of serenity, not dominating the atmosphere, yet not yielding presence. The electronic "Snowflakes" is a step from the norm, with an airy ambient feel, not like anything else in this collection. Also here is a chilling rendition of Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street". Fans of George Winston or Jon Schmidt should enjoy this debut solo effort from O'Daffer." -  CDReviews.com

"...it is always a treat to [hear] intelligent, interesting music...Mr. O'Daffer is truly gifted, and the combination with Billy McLaughlin is
superb. - KUAC Radio

Sweet

"Sometimes, a work comes along that is so unique that a review can scarcely communicate the recording's essence. Such is the case with Stan O'Daffer's new release, Sweet. Sweet is not just a concept album; it is part of an ambitious attempt to unite the written word with music in an exciting way. It turns out that Stan, a Minneapolis keyboard artist, is also an accomplished writer, as well as a paleontology buff. So, besides the album Sweet, there is also the book Sweet, due out at about the same time as the CD.

Sweet is the story of a baby allosaur (named Sweet) who is living during the Jurassic period of prehistory. The album and book detail his travels through his land and time as he is separated from his tribe and must grow up on his own. Now, you cynics can go right ahead and start chuckling about baby dinosaurs and such. However, by dismissing this CD with such a near-sighted opinion, you will be missing an incredibly varied musical portrait that encompasses such diverse genres as jazz-pop fusion, blistering guitar-oriented rock, piano-based tone poems, and neo-classical adult contemporary. This complete lack of a single musical motif will undoubtedly throw many people for a loop. It is to Stan's credit, however, that this vast palette is exactly what his vision called for.

Joined by capable session players (acoustic guitarist Dean McGraw, electric guitarist and bass player Rik Stirling, fiddle player David Stenshoel, tenor sax player David Marden, trumpet player Tom Beyer, and cellist Tim Perry), O'Daffer has produced a rich sonic story, showcasing his uncommon talent that cuts across many genres. His piano chops really shine, but it's his composing ability that distinguishes this recording the most.

Musically, here are just a few of the cuts detailed. There is the lush synth and cello opener Dawn, followed by the breezy piano of the jazzy Journey. This segues into the wah-wah pedal-led rockish Storm of Years. Still later, we have the new age-jazz fusion of Gliders (bringing the collaborations of Paul Speer and David Lanz to mind), the smoky slow jazz of Solitude of Silence and the upbeat fun of Hatchlings. The album closes with the anthem-like Eternity's Tomb which may remind some of you of the prog band The Flock with its use of rock rhythms married with fiddle.

All in all, the scope of this recording is such that, as I said to Stan recently, it's a hard sell to any but the most open-minded. Jazz fans may be put off by the rock or "new age" textures. New age music fans might recoil at the outright rock and jazz songs. And as for ambient lovers, forget it. But, if your tastes are broad enough and your spirit adventurous enough, the rewards which Sweet offers are many." - Wind & Wire MagazineNew Instrumental Music Reviews and Interviews

"…LOVELY." - Peter Gabriel

"Sweet is a most enchanting excursion into the realm of visual soundscapes for the mind. The adventure rather defies genre classification, as it is a soundtrack given to utilization of a broad palette of instrumentation and effects. Rather likened to a concept album ala' the Alan Parsons Project days of old. The musicianship, engineering and composition are all world class. Sweet rocks, is introspective and packed with all of the aural allegories required for a rewarding listening session that takes one upon a magical journey." - New Age SamplerWWSP Radio

"Minneapolis-based pianist/composer Stan O'Daffer's Sweet is an ambitious compilation of cinematic music based on the artist's eponymous novel. The music and the story follow the adventures of O'Daffer's unlikely hero, who happens to be an Allosaur from the late Jurassic period.

The score is rich and evocative, running the sonic spectrum from solo piano to rock combo to orchestral. It's worthy of a big screen soundtrack. Tom Beyer's muted trumpet solo on "Solitude of Silence" (dedicated to Miles Davis) is a fitting tribute. Fine solos on the project also are posted by Tim Perry (cello), Rik Stirling (guitar), David Stenshoel (fiddle), and David Marden (sax). The variety of styles that the composer covers in this epic is quite impressive and so is the crisp, luminous recording thanks to the able and artful engineering of Rik Stirling.

It's amusing to note that when the steel drums tinkle and calypso rhythms are pumping along on "Courting the Future, "the liner notes tell us our dinosaur hero has found a willing mate (Love Boat, Jurassic style?). There's even an Enigma-like trance dance cut, "Eternity's Tomb,"to round things out while the credits and rolling on the imaginary screen. Indeed, Sweet is a suite of Jurassic-sized music. Grrrrr!" - The Edge

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