Dan Haerle


Now for something (or someone) completely different…..

Dan Haerle is a legendary Jazz musician and educator.  He’s one of the primary reasons that myself, and many other musicians, came to Denton, Texas to attend North Texas State University (now known as UNT).  I’ve had the honor of working with him as a colleague that past few years also.

Dan Haerle currently resides in Denton.  His most recent release, “Live at Luminous Sound” was released by Seagull Recordings and featured his group, The Dan Haerle Quartet.

Dan Haerle was a faculty member in the Jazz Studies Division of the College of Music at the University of North Texas for 34 years. He has recorded many Jamey Aebersold play-alongs, has several jazz text books published, is an active jazz clinician nationally and internationally. Dan has performed with artists such as Dave Liebman and Pat Metheny and, in 1975, he toured the U. S. and Europe with the Clark Terry Quintet.  Dan was inducted into the IAJE “Hall of Fame” In 2003, He was awarded a LeJENd of Jazz Education distinction in 2012.

What is your songwriting/composing process?
No set approach. Sometimes I start with a melody and add chords later, sometimes I write a chord progression and add the melody later. Sometimes I find myself playing a piece at the piano and then write it down.

What are you most proud of?
My daughter. And a 40 minute piece I wrote under a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1976 for piano and symphony orchestra.

What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Lorenz Hart’s lyrics with Richard Rodgers music like Mountain Greenery, “There’s no keener reception in this greenery…”

How do you decide on Chords to match your melody?
Any chord root can go with any melody note and generally I pick chords with strong functions that establish keys like II-V-I progressions, etc. Also, I like stepwise progressions, either rising or falling by 1/2 steps.

What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Write a lot of music but have a big wastebasket! Every note you write is not going to be sacred! Also, if you are not sure about what to do with a work in progress, put it aside and return to it days, weeks, months, even years later!

Dan on the web

Bonus Materials

To view Dan’s selected playlist and other bonus items, please go to;


All interviews and Bonus Materials will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

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See you back soon,



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