Frequently Asked Questions About the Dave Stahl NY Band
Why did you form your NY band?
Dave responds: I guess I've always had that leadership bug. I guess in many ways I'm a take-charge kind of guy in that I'm willing to assume the responsibility to do a task and lead a group. I'm hsure too that at the time I felt a bit of concern or wonder over the future of the big band genre. The leaders were all getting pretty old and dying. So I felt that new blood had to come into the playing field to help promote the cause and keep the flame alive.
How did you get the musicians for your band?
Dave responds: Well, almost all the guys that were in the band when I started it were fellow musicians whom I had played gigs with either on the road or in and around NYC. Just a few had come on strong recommendation from guys in the band. And then as I spent more time in town I got to meet and play with a lot of other guys in town and of course then I knew many more guys that I could ask to play the band if needed.
How did the band start up?
Dave responds: We started rehearsing in lofts around town. Generally one night a week we got together and it was followed by a hang that was always good for a lot of laughs and good times. Tom Boras was a member back then and he started to do some writing for the band and that helped generate some direction for the band musically.
What kind of direction did you want to go musically with the band?
Dave responds: I felt that a new band at that time needed to not be nostalgic but needed to present new arrangements or compositions that embraced the contemporary grooves of the day as well as the traditional swing tempos but done with the modern feeling at the time and not couched in a nostalgic blanket. I thought that Maynard at the time was approaching that and actually the other name band leaders too only they might have been too steeped in their own history to be able to completely be fresh and new with their music whereas a new guy wouldn't have any of those confinements or musical responsibilities.
How did the first recording come about?
Dave responds: I felt the pressure and need to record the band. I just felt it was necessary to get something out there on vinyl at the time that represented the band. So I made the necessary calls and biz chores and we set it up for Chelsea studios in NYC with Phil Bulla as the engineer. Phil had played bass bone with Buddy and was very knowledgeable of the genre and the instruments and was perfect for the task as engineer. It was a learning experience for me from that side of the table so to speak. And with successive recordings, I tried to put that knowledge to use in cutting unnecessary expenses and in ways to maximize the efforts musically of all the guys.
What about the biz side of things with the recordings?
Dave responds: Well, I got some very good airplay from the different recordings on radio stations. It was a lot of time and expense to research the stations, get their formats, get their addresses and then mail out the recordings along with info packets. Very time consuming but as I said we did get some very good airplay and good rotation from stations around the country. I also had to form my own record label to do all this. It was really something how a pea-sized record label like mine was getting airplay along with the likes of all the top name jazz bands and artists. To achieve that was pretty good.
Why New York?
Dave responds: In my book, it has the best musicians. Not to say that there aren't great musicians elsewhere but to me I find the overall depth of quality unrivaled. And, I know most of the guys personally and respect them both personally and musically.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Dave Stahl PA Band
Who makes up the the PA big band?
Dave responds: My PA big band is made up of musicians that I have become acquainted with or known over the years either through personally playing with them in different capacities or thru personal recommendations. The guys for the most part have day jobs and don't make their living solely from playing their instruments. However, there are some guys on the band that do make their livings as performing musicians. The ages range from early 20's to me, the old guy, at 56!
How did it start?
Dave responds: I started my first PA big band when I came home from being out on the road with Buddy Rich. I had played with all the local guys in that first band in various groups over the years around home. It wasn't too hard forming the band back then. I knew those guys pretty well and there was a desire amongst all those guys to have a good big band in which to play. We started doing all kinds of gigs including dances and my book started to grow. I started to write charts and a style, so to speak, for the band was developed.
What kind of charts do you have in the book?
Dave responds: The book for the band is almost entirely special written charts. I've engaged several different writers/ arrangers that I've come to know over the years to write for my band. In addition I've done some of the writing and also have acquired a few charts from the repertoires of Maynard, Buddy, Woody, etc. As a matter of fact, Woody gave me his entire book once during a break in the schedule. He gave me the okay to copy whatever charts I wanted. I only copied about 30 some charts. I guess Woody had faith that I would return with the book for the next gig. You can imagine what would have happened had I not done so. But to continue, the book covers the spectrum of musical styles for big band. We are not a nostalgia band, however. So you won't find those charts or style charts in my book.
Where do you perform with the PA big band?
Dave responds: We perform primarily in the Southeastern section of PA. There have been a few times where the band has gone beyond that but it has been very rare. The schedule for the band can be found on the homepage. We are currently playing on a regular basis at the Lantern Lodge in Myerstown, PA.
Do you play dances or private affairs?
Dave responds: Yes, we have an excellent dance book and can and do play for private occasions. There is enough repertoire in the book to meet the musical needs of a wide assortment of occasions. You must remember though that we cannot do what DJ's do. They can provide the exact musical pieces as recorded by the artists. However DJ's cannot do what we do. There is nothing that can compare to "live" music.
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