Del Dako (pronounced DAY-KO) graduated from York University's (Toronto) Jazz programme in 1979 and soon joined Shox Johnson and the Jive Bombers, where he formed two-thirds of the reed section, doubling alto and baritone. He supported artists like Eddie Cleanhead Vinson and Slim Gaillard in the band called Crazy Rhythm, co-led by his old classmate, trumpeter Larry Cramer (jusband of Jane Bunnett).
As a youngster, his first inkling that he could play music came when he discovered that other clarinetists in the junior high school band could't play their parts without music, as he could. As a teenager, he discovered the world of jazz when a neighbour gave him five old LP's, including the "Essential Charlie Parker" on Verve, with the classic Bird of"KC Blues", "She Rote" and "Au Privave". Like most teenagers in the Beatles era, Dako had never heard of Parker, and for a few years he thought he was the only person in the city who knew about him. He rented an alto saxophone and started woodshedding. "Every time I put that record on the turntable", he says, "it just got better and better".
While he was majoring in philosophy at Trent University, he attended a summer jazz workshop at York, where he not only learned that other people knew about Bird, but discovered that at York he could combine philosophy with jazz studies.
He was still in university when he started working nightly with Shox Johnson, and later on in his career has held the baritone chair in the Jim Galloway Wee Big Band, as a matter of fact for more than a decade.
His influences on the BIG horn include the late Serge Chaloff and the wonderful multi-horn player Nick Brignola.
Currently he leads a quartet, teaches and enjoys the challenge of working in any setting where he can use the alto or baritone saxophones.
|Recommended recordings:||"Balancing Act"||Sackville SKCD 2-2021|
|Jim Galloway's Wee Big Band|
"Kansas City Nights"
|Sackville SKCD 2-3057|