I am Daniel Schnee: ethnomusicologist (PhD), quarter-tone saxophonist, drummer, and graphic score composer… as well as a former mentee of both legendary Japanese artist Shozo Shimamoto, and Pulitzer Prize/Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award™ winning saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

My works have been performed, exhibited, or published in 24 countries, I’ve accompanied many Juno, American Music, Canadian Country, and Grammy Award™ winning artists, and my score CHOLLOBHAT was included in NOTATIONS 21, the sequel to John Cage’s groundbreaking graphic score anthology Notations

Here at my blog you will find posts about East Asian aesthetic cultures, jazz improvisation and so on, so feel free to start exploring and have fun.

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39 thoughts on “About

    1. Dear Daniel I came about your blog simply accident as i was reading another blog on watches. I find t fascinating that you are into Zen, an Ethnographies musicologist, jazz etc.. I am a photographer based in HK so its not too far from tokyo and i would travel to japan frequently on assignment. i saw your blog on Suizen and this is relevant to me. I play the Shakuhachi and i have teachers in tokyo and kyoto. also teachers in NYC as well. sadly, not many people in HK play this instrument. likewise i love jazz and i used to play the tenor, but i have since replaced it with the Shakuhachi as it is not as loud an instrument to practice. I play the shakuhachi to help me slow down it forces me to breath deeply instead of shallow breathing i am new at this site so if i am replying on a wrong page please let me know I worked with a distinguished ethnomusicologist from Kent State in Ohio he’s a bit of a character and along with another emeritus from SUNY New Paltz we have published a very extensive book on the american covered bridges.. I hope to hear from you soon

      1. Hi.

        I am glad you study the shakuhachi. Reed and/or bamboo flutes are ancient, and to play them is a way of connecting and communing with our ancestors. It is especially great that you are Chinese, since shakuhachi playing and Zen Buddhism were formulated and formally started in China: you have a lot of heritage to be proud of!

        1. Admittedly the Shakuhachi is a deceptively simple instrument. It’s a bamboo with five holes. No valves no reeds just a bamboo tube. We can make one out of pvc pipes as well. But it’s simplicity belies it’s difficulty in mastering the instrument. This is now my 10th year with the instrument and I feel that I am still a beginner. Band I still have days where I struggle with it. Worst is when my mind is unsettled a dear friend of mine a chado sensei in Kyoto taught me a very interesting lesson. As I complained about the difficulties and frustration when playing the instrument. Him being a tea ceremony teacher knew exactly of my frustrations. He told me to not worry about if being difficult nor get To concerned about the quality of my playing. At this point that is not important. He told me to simply play and enjoy the moment. As it comes and go very quickly There is a Zen like lesson to this As an ethnomusicologist would you know if Terry Miller?

  1. Dan! How’s it going? I tried sending you an email the other day with news from away and the odd Holy Grail reference, but I guess your York email is no longer active.

    1. Yeah. It closed when I graduated. Its been a year since we had that last great jam session with Signor Iannucci. That was a ton of fun! We had a great trio happening

  2. Wonderful! My name is Bill Stagg and you taught me alto in the late 80’s in Saskatoon. I’ll always remember the cassettes you sent home with me: Earth Wind and Fire, Joe Satriani, etc. I was the only kid in grade 7 listening to Tower of Power! Below I will post our beekeeping website if you are curious to see what I am up to.

    1. Hi Bill! I do remember you, and I am glad you are still listening to P. Floyd and EW&F. Sometimes one’s best teacher is a CD and an hour of free time to really listen! Thanks for the kind words, and good luck. We must protect our bee friends and thus by a transitive property our own agricultural future.

  3. Hello old friend! Nice to see you’ve been able to make a career out of your musical passion! Trust all is well in your universe.

  4. Hi! It has been 27 years since we last saw each other… at high school grad! I have been really lucky to have had my passion turn into a career: lots of hard work = luck in my case.

    1. I am very well indeed. And time has flow pretty fast. I haven’t seen you since 2013. I still listen to a lot of Mande balafon music, so thanks for all the listening and jam sessions we did! I don’t have your e-mail, so leave yours in a reply…

      1. Hey, there you are! I had no idea you’d replied. I wanted to ask you about something. Would you email me? (The email address that I have for you seems to be defunct.)

  5. Hello, Mr. Schnee – tell me, where possibly did you find and copy that eye catching “suizen” calligraphy on your “The Art of Suizen 吹禅” web page?
    宜しく 🙂 無穴笛

    1. I just found it by typing in “suizen” in Google Images. It should come up as you scroll down through the images. If you go to my Art of Suizen page you can also click on the image, drag it over onto your computer’s desktop, then drop it in your iPhoto icon…です ね!

  6. Hey Dan, Faiyaz here, not sure if you can remember, i was your neighbor from Assiniboine. I think i have some contribution to the naming of Chollobhat as we had dinner together in our apartment! Hope you are doing good. Been a long time.

  7. Hello Dr. Schnee, I just was reading your quiz on Lost In Space. Really great. Knew almost all of them. One thing though, you have a mistake in the Forbidden World (question 33). You state the guest star playing Tiabo is Willy Cox instead of Wally Cox. Thought you’d like to know. Going to check out the rest of your site. Thanks. Dave

  8. Hi Dan I always knew you’d do well with your music, that’s great!! Send me a message if you get a moment would be nice to catch up.

  9. Hey man it’s Randy Kozlowski from the North Battleford Comp High jazz band and GMCC. I was thinking of you the other day and wondered what ever happened to you. Give me a shout…

    1. Hi Randy!

      I tried using the email address you gave, but it didn’t work, so I will just reply here.

      I like your question: “whatever happened” to me. It implies I was just kind of standing around then things happened “to” me like I was powerless to stop them, lol! Very little has happened to me. In the ensuing decades it has been I who has “happened” to those things. Japan, however, did happen to me (after Ornette Coleman recommended I go there), and it has been beyond amazing to have been so involved with Japanese creative culture as both a researcher and improvising musician. Hopefully I have become a better human in the process, but at the fundamental level I still am who I was back then: a super-passionate musician/ethnomusicologist and hard (efficient?) worker. Everything is fine, and I’m doing great…

  10. Hi Daniel,
    Pam and I wanted to let you know how much we are enjoying your columns in the Medicine Hat News. They are very well written and thought provoking. We hope you are doing well.

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