Dave Stahl Bio
musician... lead trumpeter... soloist... band manager... leader... recording artist
Stahl's professional musical career began officially following his discharge from the Army in 1973. Yet, during his enlistment, he performed as a soloist with The Army Band, held the position of lead trumpet in the "Army Blues" and was principal trumpet in the White House Herald Trumpets.
Since his discharge he has performed as lead trumpet and as a soloist with many of the top bands in America: Woody Herman, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Larry Elgart and Toshiko Akiyoshi, among others. With Rich he also served as band manager.
Stahl has backed up notables like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Jack Jones, Sarah Vaughan, and Englebert Humperdinck. Engagements have taken him through Europe, North Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, and forty-eight of the fifty states.
In April 1977 Stahl formed his own band, The Dave Stahl Band, and in April of 1987 produced Anaconda, a contemporary pop instrumental album which featured hits like Dick Lowell's arrangements of "Jump (For My Love)", "That's What Friends Are For", and Alan Downey's arrangement of "Saving All My Love For You" as well as original charts with Stahl as trumpet or flugelhorn soloist on most of the cuts.
Stahl has been part of many albums during his career: one album, with Woody Herman, became a Grammy Award winner. In addition, he performed as lead trumpet with Frank Sinatra on an engagement that was recorded and telecast live from Madison Square Garden: "Sinatra: The Main Event."
He has free-lanced in New York City, recording commercials for radio and television, like "I Love New York", Nationwide Insurance, Ford Motor Company, and sports themes for the Fox Television Network.
These, too, are also part of Stahl's repertoire of experiences.
- Broadway and off-Broadway shows with performers like Anne Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Jerry Lewis, Charles Aznavour.
- Club and hotel engagements in Atlantic City.
- Orchestra performances featuring the Floyd Werley "Concerto for Trumpet" originally composed for Doc Severinsen.
- Musical competitions around the country where he has appeared as a guest judge.
- Performances in all of the major jazz festivals, including Montreux, Switzerland and the Newport Jazz Festival in New York City.
- Television shows - The Mike Douglas Show, The Big Show, a cable special from the Dominican Republic with Sinatra and Buddy Rich, BBC TV from England, a live PBS special at the White House, etc.
Stahl counts as the highlights of his career a variety of accomplishments and experiences. One of the highlights was being named the feature performer in the International Brass Conference tribute to Maynard Ferguson, held in New York City. In addition, he was part of a two-week record setting engagement on Broadway with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Performing at the London Palladium with Sinatra, Basie and Sarah Vaughan as well as participating in a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II have been notable for Stahl. He is listed in the Leonard Feather Encyclopedia of Jazz.
Dave's only trumpet teacher was Walter J. Gier of Reading, PA who passed away at the age of 90 in November of 1997.
Dave plays exclusively on a mouthpiece made by Warburton.
1987 – Present
In 1987 Dave started his own record label: Abee Cake Records and started recording his own band, the Dave Stahl Band. Since then there have been 4 recordings of his band: Anaconda, Miranda, Live at Knights and Standard Issue. All the recordings are available through Dave's label, Abee Cake Records, at PO Box 117, New Berlinville, PA 19545. Live at Knights is a live recording and all the others were done in studios in NYC. Also Dave established his own publishing company in 1987: Dave Stahl Music which is BMI affiliated. He started Dasta Music in 1989 which is ASCAP affiliated.
Dave's main work was with Liza Minnelli. He continued to tour with her around the world as her lead trumpeter. 1987 was the record setting performance at Carnegie Hall which was recorded by Telarc, and later that year Liza toured Europe for 8 weeks. There were several concerts with Liza and Frank Sinatra, and in 1988 Liza recorded at the White House a PBS live concert attended by President Reagan and directed by Marvin Hamlisch. 1989 saw Liza touring in Europe with Sammy Davis Jr. and in 1991 Liza set another record at Radio City Music Hall and followed that with an 11 week tour of Europe which included a month in Paris with Charles Aznavour. In 1992 Liza recorded at Radio City both a CD and video of the record setting concert. In 1994 Dave took some time off from Liza to do the new version of Damn Yankees on Broadway. Originally the cast included Bebe Neuwirth and Victor Garber. The last part of the run featured Jerry Lewis in the main role.
In September of 1999, Dave was hired to play lead trumpet on the new Broadway show: Saturday Night Fever. That show ran at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City for 18 months. Liza did a 4 week limited engagement at the Palace Theatre in NYC in December of 1999 and that show was recorded on a CD. In Spring of 1999, Dave organized and formed his own Sacred Orchestra. It is a 23-piece studio orchestra (large big band with strings) plus 10 vocalists. He has been performing in churches in the eastern half of Pennsylvania since then.
By the beginning of 2005, The Sacred Orchestra had performed over 135 worship services or concerts of sacred music. Two recordings were made. Those recordings are: How Great Thou Art and Praise Him.
Dave also reformed his local PA big band around 2001 and started doing weekly gigs with the band. Those efforts grew to working at various venues in Southeastern PA and a following that urged a recording of the band. That desire was fulfilled when Dave and his PA big band recorded their first recording on Dec 1 and 2, 2004. It was a live recording done at a club in New Holland , PA much like Dave's previous live recording Live at the Knights. This new recording, Live at the Ritz, was officially released on March 17, 2005. It had been 15 years since Dave last recorded with his big band.
Dave continues to freelance in and around NYC and also play trumpet on Broadway shows. And now, March of 2011, Dave has released a new recording of his NY band titled From A to Z. It's a set of 12 selections that pretty much covers the styles of big band writing from A to Z.
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