“Dale Fielder has created an approach to the baritone sax that is entirely his own. His tone is rich and vibrant, his phrasing is sharp and fluid and his solos are well-constructed yet endlessly inventive. Fielder’s chops are unequaled. I honestly don’t believe that there is a better proponent of the instrument alive and playing today. If you’ve never been a bari fan, the explosive creativity and enormous passion displayed on his recordings may very well change your mind. ”
— Roman St. James / Jazz Review
Dale Fielder is a hard-working improviser who knows his way around his horns. Alto, tenor, soprano and baritone sax are his axes of choice --- all played with the same high degree of emotional outpouring. One of Fielder’s most endearing qualities is his inherent rawness. He can play very smoothly if he chooses, but seldom goes that way. Close listening prompts an understanding of just how complete a package this L.A. sax man tends to be. Whether exploring an oblique 5/4 original such as "Troubadour Dreams" or the standard chestnut "Diane", Fielder’s lines always manage fruition, but his style demands that they stray out in left field, just missing the foul pole. Hey, its Fielder’s choice, but it’s impossible not to appreciate what he’s doing: shoot from the hip. Some of the finest saxophonists in jazz history --- namely Jackie McLean and Eric Dolphy have held this same command. The jazz world could use a few more free-blowing free agents like Fielder.
DFQ~DALE FIELDER QUARTET
1995 - THE PRESENT
The Dale Fielder Quartet was formed in 1988 but settled into it's current edition when final member, the legendary ex-Charles Mingus pianist ,Jane Getz joined the band for a jazz festival on New Years Day 1995. Along with Getz, original members bassist Bill Markus and drummer Thomas White have been on board since 1993. In 1994, world reknown vocalist Rita Edmond was added to the group when vocals are requested. Night after night, the DFQ have gone quietly about their business; almost workman-like, -just making the gig, yet as serious as your life in focusing only on the music. Seeing this focus and reverence for the music, while having a great time doing it is what their audiences like most about the band. For over twenty-five years, the band continues to not merely survive, but actually thrive. It is certainly remarkable in how the band continues to grow, evolve their singular way and have created a body of distinctive jazz music. The unique characteristics of the band is Fielder's leadership as a bandleader as well as his commitment and determination in his continued pursuit of the baritone sax as a front-line solo instrument; -not a usual role for the deep-toned horn. Also of note are Fielder's immense abilities and evolution as a composer. The beauty and strength of the band can be seen in how they play and interpret Fielder's compositions. As a result, the band has their own sound and can immediately set a mood and create a vibe. Also each individual member is showcased; everyone gets to shine! This is a band in the fullest sense of the word and not a collection of dis-interested individuals just phoning it in. The benefit of their longtime alliance is obvious. The telepathic-like interaction they maintain is one of the factors that allows this group to rise a notch above in a field that abounds in great groups.
On musical partnership with Jane getz
"Jane coming into the quartet was the big factor for us both. We compliment each other very well: --a perfect foil for each other. I attribute this to the fact that we both feel the same way about music, and jazz in particular. Her primary influence is Bud Powell, mine is Charles Parker. We both aren’t afraid of being traditionalists in the sense that in the new millennium this seems to be a bad word. Our influences and sources of inspiration are pretty direct. When you hear Jane play bop or a standard, it sounds completely authentic, relevant yet up to date and of the present time. Not standing still in time sounding dated, you see? Even though we are coming from sources in the 1940’s and ‘50s, we have still learned from everything that has happened since in the music. You hear McCoy Tyner and Tommy Flanagan in Jane’s playing, Coltrane in mine. There’s a certain magic that happens when Jane and I play together and we’ve been smart enough to explore this and let it develop for all these years. It’s still fun for us after all these years. Not to leave Bill Markus and Thomas White out, they feel the same way. We all are not afraid of the word jazz and relish each opportunity to perform it together. The passion and dedication each member of this band has is beyond any words I can say except the word “love”. We really love what we are doing together. It doesn’t happen quite in the same way when we play with anyone else. We naturally create a very ego-less and supportive musical environment for each other every time we play. And because of this, there is a tremendous amount of love, respect and esteem we hold for each other that has been enjoyed for twenty-five years and hopefully many more to come."
Intrigue - DFQ with Rita Edmond
At times, it seems as if saxophonist Dale Fielder is one of the national jazz scene’s best kept secrets. An incredibly talented instrumentalist as well as an accomplished composer, Fielder’s command of his instrument, his improvisational runs, the nuances, his warm mellow tone ---his total expression is flawless.
Bob Agnew/LA Jazz Scene
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