Danny Bank
6/10/2010 - Played a great gig with Anthony Wilson at Smalls last week. Stanley Crouch hung out at the near end of the bar putting him just about in the horn section. Always good to see him and talk, had been a while. Anthony's playing, writing, and overall group concept were great! Hope to play some more again some time soon with him. Playing some rehearsals with Max Weinberg these days for some upcoming gigs that should be fun as well: Bruce Springsteen was rumored to make this first gig with us at an A.L.S. benefit but couldn't make it at the last minute; would be fun to meet and play with him at some point. And I'm playing with Alan Ferber tomorrow night at Smalls; looking forward to that as always. His new c.d. is getting some great reviews and deservedly so. But on another note, Phil Woods e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that Danny Bank had passed. Most of you probably don't know who he was, and that's a pity. The photo above is of Danny ( on bass clarinet ) with Oliver Nelson's sax section w/Phil, Zoot, Jerry Dodgion and Eddie Daniels. There are so many great, original, brilliant contributors that I've come across as a musician that I want people to know about, and Danny was one of them. Danny was an amazing multi reed player, and certainly one of the greatest baritone saxophonists who ever lived ( Bob Gordon was one of his favorites by the way). He was a founding member of the N.Y. Saxophone Quartet. I met him through playing in Loren Schoenberg's band in the 80's, alongside such other greats as Mel Lewis, Dennis Irwin, Eddie Bert, Bobby Pring, John Eckert, et al. Danny was not primarily an improviser, though an excellent one when given the chance. And along with the great bass player Milt Hinton, Danny was probably the most recorded musician ever. He was an active member of the N.Y. studio scene and was on over 9,000 records as a result- only Milt is in that league as far as I know. He taught me a great deal about the saxophone, and could teach just as much about the flute and clarinet as well; and also was truly a world class chess player. He played with everyone from Miles Davis, to Benny Goodman, to Stokowski and Stravinsky. He told me he once spoke to Stravinsky during a rehearsal break and asked, "Maestro, I noticed that you wrote this passage in a more complex meter ( time signature) than you had to. Was there a particular reason for this notation"? Stravinsky smiled and replied, "I always want to keep the musicians on their toes!" He had so many stories like that, so many amazing experiences. He could play LEAD BARITONE over AN ENTIRE BAND! I cannot stress enough how amazing this was. This man, who had polio as a child and walked with a cane, (and with some difficulty, though he was strong), could play this large, low instrument so powerfully that at times you'd have to strain to hear the 8 brass players behind him! When I asked him how he did it, he said, "You know how you play loud? With your eyes! You have to SEE the back wall of the hall and put your sound there". Since I began this site 4 +1/2 years ago Danny was on a short list of musicians that I'd hoped to interview. I last saw him at his 80th birthday in 02 or 03 I believe, though I'd spoken to him once or twice since then. He was always very kind, generous, and supportive to younger players, myself included. People like Danny, his brilliance, his passion for music, his original and personal contribution, inspired me a great deal and make me want to try to pass on some knowledge and awareness of them to students, friends, and fans of the music. I wish all my students could have gotten to play in a big band, or sax quartet with Danny like I did; dutifully losing soon afterwards in chess of course ( like I did!). What a lesson it was to hear Danny and play with him! What a great, original person he was; he will be greatly missed...
Summer of 2017
It's June 23rd and I'm back in Winnipeg to play some gigs and do some teaching for the Winnipeg Jazz Festival. Always great to see and hear old...
Spring 2017
It's been a very busy first few months of 2017 here at the U. of Manitoba. We're finishing the semester and school year later this month, after a...
November 2016
It's been a really great fall so far. I've been able to do some really fun tours, see some new places, and play a lot of fun gigs! When I last checked...
Fall 2016
It's been a really nice end to the summer and start of fall in recent weeks. I played with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Aug 29th, played a nice quartet...
Summer 2016
It’s July 11th and I’m in the middle a welcome slow period this summer. Nice to have a couple weeks to just walk, jog, ride my bike, go to the beach,...
Evolution CD (Mail Order)
Welcome to the Evolution CD Participant Offer where it is my pleasure to share the creation of this new work with you through ArtistShare.  As a participant, during the course of this project you will have a unique look into the entire...