Born: July 27, 1956 Primary Instrument: Sax, baritone
Dale Fielder is an American jazz saxophonist, composer and band leader. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays all four saxophones: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone with equal authority. He is known for his original compositions and choice of performing rare, obscure jazz classics as well as his varied group concepts and variety of presentations. Fielder has recorded over 13 CDs as a leader for various labels since he first appeared on the national jazz scene in 1993 with his first CD Free Flow.
He grew up in Midland, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh where he studied oboe, bassoon and tuba in the school system and clarinet, saxophone, composition and arranging privately with noted Pittsburgh area tenor saxophonist Phillip Celli. Fielder is also a product of the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Studies Program, where he studied as an ethnomusicology major under Dr. Nathan Davis. Fielder's debut jazz performance was as a member of the Joe Harris Quartet, former drummer of the Charlie Parker Quintet and Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. After relocating to NYC, he was recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1984, studying with trumpeter/composer Frank Gordon and completed his first large work, The Aquarian for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra. While in NYC, he also performed with a host of current jazz stars such as pianist/composer Geri Allen and trombonist Robin Eubanks among many others.
After eight years in NYC, Fielder moved to Los Angeles and studied with alto legend, Charles McPherson and embarked on the challenging path of a band leader, establishing the Dale Fielder Quartet, the DFQ, with pianist Harold Land, Jr. in 1988. In 1996, he recorded a national top-ten CD, Dear Sir: Tribute To Wayne Shorter to widespread critical acclaim. In 1997, Fielder received his first commission and wrote the extended eleven-movement jazz suite, Ocean Of Love And Mercy, which was recorded in performance by an all-star Nonet and released by Cadence Jazz Records. Fielder has since performed throughout Europe and Asia with his Quartet. Selected as BET’s 1999 Jazz Discovery winner, Fielder has taped several subsequent video appearances and shows for BET.
In 2003, Fielder released his most important and ambitious work, his hour-long third extended jazz suite, Suite: Clarity to international critical acclaim. His 2005 CD, Baritone Sunride also received international attention bringing Fielder recognition as one of the top new baritone saxophonists in jazz. His July 2007 release DFQ~Plays The Music Of Pepper Adams, continues to document his classic jazz quartet, now with legendary jazz pianist Jane Getz, that as of 2014 is celebrating their 19th consecutive year together. Fielder's recent projects include performances with his avant garde quartet, Luminous Monolith, his fourth extended work, Light and Shadow, commissioned and performed at Lenoir-Rhyne College of Fine Arts in North Carolina and his on-going exploration of the music of Pepper Adams, this time with performances with baritone great Gary Smulyan. Fielder also performed and acted in the play Nobody Walks Like My Daddy and won a nomination for 'Best Supporting Male Actor by the NAACP Theater Awards in 2012. In 2013, Fielder performed around the country at various venues with his new Dale Fielder Tribute Quintet with a new project focusing on the music of the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet of 1958-1961. The music from this project has been recorded and released as the CD Each Time I Think of You on the Clarion Jazz label in October of 2012 and is available on iTunes and CD Baby.com. For 2014, Fielder is currently back with his Quartet with Jane Getz working on his Saxophone Standards project, which is a 4 volume CD project focusing on rare, obscure jazz standards written by the great composers such as Cole Porter and George Gershwin; and rare, obscure classic originals written by jazz composers such as Sonny Clark and Hank Mobley among others. The first volume is expected out in the late spring of 2014.
Awards:BET jazz discovery winner 1999
Fielder comes out of the gate blowing hard, aggressive, ferociously swinging tenor and with that blows away any preconceived notions about west coast jazz musicians not being able to deal with the same depth as their east coast counterparts. Fielder’s tone is big and pungent, reminiscent of Trane’s and he possesses an impressive command of his instrument in both low and high registers. No happy jazz here, just a lot of serious dealing. —Bill Milkowski/JazzTimes Magazine
DEAR SIR finds Fielder fully ready to tackle the challenge of a CD program rendered in tribute to Wayne Shorter. Throughout these eleven pieces, the Dale Fielder Quartet gives a solid lie to the misguided notion that one has to be in New York to make significant jazz. DEAR SIR is likely something future generations of saxophonists will be addressing Dale Fielder by. He’s got it. —Willard Jenkins/JazzTimes Magazine
As a saxophonist, Fielder’s style lies somewhere between Shorter’s tensile fragility and Coltrane’s towering strength. He straddles this line well. —Robert Iannapollo/Cadence Magazine
His performances swing with dignified sounds and a sense of tradition, not to mention the kind of emotional content that great jazz demands. Seen earlier this month at Club Brasserie in West Hollywood’s Bel-Age hotel, the saxophonist and his combo took the roof off the place! —Bill Kohlhaase/LA Times
Dale Fielder attacks the rhythms on the alto saxophone with his dynamic solo-ability and eats up bop solos like pancakes! —Glenn Davis/LA Watts Times
Here’s something of a rarity, a debut disc from the west coast by a young black saxophonist that bears no hints of fuzak or funk trappings wrapped in a palm tree mentality. This is updated and unrepentant hard bop of the Blue Note mold. Fielder’s main instrument is the alto which he invests with a tart tone in the manner of Mr. McLean while constructing idea-filled phrases rooted in the Charlie Parker continuum. His compositions are dotted with twists remindful of Wayne Shorter scripts. This California reedman has come up with something more than a mere slice of nostalgia for the scotch and slippers set. I say more power to him! —Larry Hollis/Cadence Magazine
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
University of Pittsburgh Ethnomusicology Major / Yamaha School Of Music (LA,CA) Currently: Jupiter Band Instruments Educational Clinician / Brentwood (CA) High School Master Classes / Lincoln Park Performing Art Center Master Classes (2010)
Educational Clinician for Jupiter Band Intruments. Talk and teach basics of jazz improvisation. Have students perform with Quartet and critique each student. For Clinics or a masterclass please contact Jupiter Artist Management at 512-288-2979 x22 www.jupitermusic.com