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Arlene McDaniel is a jazz pianist/educator who has been active in the Mid-Michigan area since 1981. She has a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from Michigan State University (1984). Jazz compositions range from piano solo to full jazz ensemble. Arlene was on the Adjunct Faculty at Hillsdale College (2013 – 2020), where she taught private jazz piano, jazz combo, and performed Sonin The Hillcats. She is also on faculty at the Michigan State University Community Music School (2008 – present), and continues to teach out of her home studio.
Locally, Arlene performs at venues such as Moriarty’s Pub and Urban Beat, and at the Speak EZ Lounge in Grand Rapids. She worked regularly with a trio and numerous ensembles at The Cappuccino Café, Coral Gables, and The Exchange. Additional appearances include the Summer Solstice Jazz Fest (East Lansing, MI), Old Town Jazz Fest (Lansing, MI) The Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, MI (Water Lily Lounge), Montreux/Detroit Jazz Fest, and the East Lansing Art Festival. Regionally Arlene has appeared with The Dave Bennett Quartet at The Dirty Dog (Detroit), and with her trio in the The Firefly Club (Ann Arbor). She also hired and scheduled all the music performances at The Cappuccino Café from 2002 up to their closing in July of 2009.
As well as leading her own groups ranging from trios to larger ensembles. Arlene has worked most recently with virtuoso clarinetist Dave Bennett, appearing regionally and nationally with his quartet (San Diego Jazz Fest, Clambake Music Festival in Oregon). Arlene has long time musical relationships with bassists Nick Calandro, & Ed Fedewa; drummers Randy Gillespie & Larry Ochiltree; and vocalists Sheila Landis & Sunny Wilkinson. Arlene was the accompanist for the MSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble I from 2005-08, under the direction of Sunny Wilkinson. Miscellaneous appearances include The Lansing Symphony Orchestra Big Band, The Truth in Jazz Orchestra (Grand Rapids), The Pied Pipers, and The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Arlene has recently begun performing with the Latin/Salsa group RITMO, led by Mike Eyia.
Arlene’s trio of many years with Gene Rebeck (bass) and Ian LeVine (drums) released their recording ‘Timeless’ in 2009, which contains mainly original material.
During the pandemic in the summer of 2020, Arlene was inspired by the raising of Monarch butterflies, and has written a suite of 4 movements, titled The Monarch Suite. Videos are available on her You Tube channel. Arlene plans to record a solo CD in 2020 were sidetracked by COVID-19, and the hope is to record in 2021.