Dave Pell

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Dave Pell
Born(1925-02-26)February 26, 1925
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 7, 2017(2017-05-07) (aged 92)
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader
Years active1940s–2017
LabelsAtlantic, Kapp, Coral, Capitol, RCA Victor
Associated actsThe Dave Pell Octet

David Pell (February 26, 1925 – May 7, 2017) was an American jazz saxophonist, bandleader and record producer. He was best known for leading a cool jazz octet in the 1950s.


Pell first played in his teens with the big bands of Tony Pastor, Bob Astor, and Bobby Sherwood, and then moved to California in the middle of the 1940s. There he played on Bob Crosby's radio show in 1946, and was a member of Les Brown's band from 1947 to 1955.[1]

In 1953, he began working with his own ensembles, mostly as an octet: Pell on tenor sax, another saxophone (either a baritone or an alto), trumpet and trombone, guitar, and a piano-bass-drums rhythm section).[2] Among the octet players were Pepper Adams, Benny Carter, Mel Lewis, Red Mitchell, Marty Paich, Art Pepper and, early his career, John Williams. These ensembles recorded in the 1950s for Atlantic, Kapp, Coral, Capitol, and RCA Victor; alongside this, he played as a sideman for Shorty Rogers, Pete Rugolo, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa. He also produced in the 1950s and 1960s for Tops, Uni and Liberty; among his credits in production were some singles by Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

In 1961, Pell switched to alto sax and clarinet for I Remember John Kirby, a tribute album to bassist/bandleader Kirby who led a successful small group in the 1930s and 1940s.

Pell was the recording session leader for the 1965 hit song "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)", performed by Los Angeles studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew but attributed to The T-Bones.[3]

In the 1970s, he assembled the group Prez Conference, a Lester Young tribute ensemble.[4] In the 1980s, he returned to the octet format, and played on and off into the 1990s.

Personal life[edit]

Pell had two daughters, Sandra and Suzanne. He died on May 7, 2017, at the age of 92.[5][6]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Jimmy Giuffre

With Pete Rugolo


  1. ^ Myers, Marc (May 10, 2017). "Dave Pell (1925–2017)". JazzWax.
  2. ^ "Voices". Los Angeles Times. April 13, 2007.
  3. ^ "Phonograph Recording Contract, #536 The T-Bones" (PDF). The Wrecking Crew. American Federation of Musicians. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Cerra, Steven (May 9, 2017). "Dave Pell – 1925–2017: R.I.P." Jazz Profiles.
  5. ^ "Final Note: Dave Pell". American Federation of Musicians. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  6. ^ "RIP: Dave Pell, Jazz Musician 1925–2017". The Daily Mirror. May 9, 2017.

External links[edit]