June 6th, 2017
An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 80 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
My name is Dan Montgomery, and I grew up in Rochester, New York (the town of Gates, specifically). I graduated from Gates Chili High School in 2011, and then moved to Miami to attend college at the University of Miami. I received my Bachelors degree in Studio Music and Jazz Bass Performance in 2015, and have been working in Miami as a professional musician and educator ever since.
What inspired you to be an artist/entertainer? Early experiences worth sharing?
I was most inspired by my dad to become a musician. He is an incredible musician and educator, and I remember going to his performances from a very young age. My mother is also musically inclined (though she doesn’t seem to think so), and while neither of them ever forcefully pushed me into music, they surrounded me with it my entire childhood. I began singing and playing tuba (what my dad calls “The King of the Instruments”) when I was 10, and switched over to bass in middle school when I decided I wanted to join jazz band.
The greatest musical adversity I have faced to date is applying for colleges. While my parents were very supportive of my musical endeavors, they made it clear that to attend college for music I would need to receive a full tuition scholarship. By the beginning of my senior year, I was a very involved music student…I was in concert band, jazz band, percussion ensemble, choir, show choir and the school musical. I was very well rounded, but knew I would have to narrow my scope in college and choose a discipline. While it was not an easy decision, I ultimately chose to study jazz bass in college, and knew I had a lot of practicing to do to prepare for auditions. I worked as hard as I ever have, and was accepted to every school that I applied to, and received a full ride scholarship specifically from the University of Miami.
What do you believe sets you apart from other artists/entertainers?
I believe what sets me apart as an artist is my unrelenting need to make the music feel good. My first priority is always the groove, and as a bassist I feel I have the responsibility to make the rest of the musicians comfortable. Even when I’m playing more complex music or improvising, I always set my mind to locking up with the drummer specifically, and making everything groove.
Aside from music, I really enjoy reading (particularly books on philosophy, American classics and epic fantasy literature) and am admittedly a big fan of television, as well. For the most part though, music takes up my life!
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
I just recently released my first album “Storyteller” (available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and more) in May. It consists of nine of my original compositions, each of which tells its own unique story. I’m very pleased with how it came out!
In 5 years, I hope to be playing as much music as possible and traveling the world! I imagine myself living in New York City (I plan to move there soon), and hopefully I’ll have met the woman of my dreams by then, too. Fingers crossed!
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?
My biggest piece of advice to other artists and entertainers would be to surround yourself with people who are more experienced then yourself. Being around those that inspire you is the quickest way to grow in my experience. When I first started school at the University of Miami, I knew maybe 5% of what I know now about jazz music. I learned quickly from playing all the time with incredibly talented people. Also, both be critical of yourself and trust yourself! It’s important to analyze what you do as a means of improving, but also trust that your hard work has paid off and that what you do is incredible and worth sharing with the world!
You can follow me via Facebook (Dan Montgomery), SoundCloud (DanMontgomery), YouTube (Dan Montgomery), and on my website at danmontgomeryjazz.com