Dave Pell Biography

26 February 1925, New York City, New York, USA. Pell played clarinet at the age of 13, later switching to tenor saxophone. In the 40s he was with Bobby Sherwood and Tony Pastor, then settled in Los Angeles playing with Bob Crosby and Les Brown. Although active in the studios, in 1953 he formed an octet for jazz dates. Among many leaders, he recorded with Chet Baker, Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, Pete Rugolo, Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa. Films on which Pell worked include Touch Of Evil (1957) and Summer Love (1958). He formed Prez Conference, dedicated to reprising solo performances of Lester Young although many of his big band recordings aimed at the commercial market. Musicians who played in Pell’s bands include Pepper Adams, Benny Carter, Mel Lewis, Marty Paich and Art Pepper. In the 50s he recorded with Betty Bennett, Jimmy Giuffre, the Four Freshmen, Billy May, June Christy, Mel Tormé and Ray Anthony, recording with the latter into the 80s. Also in the 50s, Pell led Ted Heath’s band on a London recording of Goodman’s music, sparking a cycle of Los Angeles-made albums. Prez Conference recorded into the late 70s and the octet into the 80s. In addition to tenor, Pell plays alto and baritone saxophone, and various other reed and woodwind instruments.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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