Garry Dial was born in Montclair New Jersey where at the age of
10 he began piano lessons with Elston Husk, a jazz pianist who
ran the local music studio. Garry's mother also played piano and
helped him with his practicing during that first year of study.
His 7th grade teacher gave him his first jazz record "The
Oscar Peterson Trio" which instilled in him the love of jazz.
For a few years he played the standards and some light classical
pieces. Garry entered high school at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark,
New Jersey where his musical life would change forever. The priests
at St Benedict's were very supportive of Garry's love of jazz.
In church at St Benedict's Garry met The "Queen Of Jazz "Mary
Lou Williams". She offered him lessons for free and took
him under her wing. For the next few years Garry went into NY
City, up to 145th St. in Harlem, to study with Mary Lou. It was
there he learned of Miles, Monk, Bud Powell and Cecil Taylor with
whom Mary was doing a duo concert at Carnegie Hall. Through a
connection of Garry's mother's, Mary Lou was asked to perform
her mass, "Mary Lou's Mass" at St. Patrick's Cathedral
in NY City. This was the first time that a Catholic jazz mass
would be performed in a major cathedral.
a junior in high school Garry took the Summer Jazz Workshop at
Berklee College Of Music. This is where he realized that music
and jazz would be his calling. After high school graduation he
returned to Berklee where he met his teacher of 37 years, the
late Charlie Banacos. After one year at Berklee fellow musician
Kenny Werner recommended Garry for a gig in Bermuda as the pianist
at The Princess Hotel. He lived on the island with his lady for
three years while playing 6 nights a week for various shows and
1976 Garry returned to NY and started gigging around the city.
He played with Charli Persip's big band. There he was discovered
by bebop trumpet legend Red Rodney who asked him to form a band.
During this time Garry played with various small groups and singers.
Through the club Jilly's, Frank Sinatra heard of Garry and asked
him to play at his apartment at the Waldorf Astoria. Although
he never performed with Mr Sinatra in concert, Garry was asked
on numerous occasions to play for Frank at his private parties.
these years Garry joined The Gerry Mulligan Big Band, The Mel
Lewis Quartet and the Joe Morello Quintet performing at the Blue
Note In NY City.
Dial's talent as a pianist earned him a coveted and unique place
in jazz history. Ruth Ellington, sister of the great Duke Ellington,
enlisted him to perform and record for the Ellington family's
personal library the entire Duke Ellington catalog. Many of these
compositions would have been lost as they were unperformed and
the late 1970's Dial spent 10 years with the Red Rodney-Ira Sullivan
Quintet, winning widespread acclaim as the primary composer and
arranger for these legendary talents. The album "Red Rodney,
Live at the Village Vanguard" was nominated for a Grammy
for Best Jazz group in 1980. "Ira Does It All" (1981),
featuring Ira Sullivan, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumentalist.
"Sprint" was chosen as one of the 10 best productions
for 1983 by the News & Observer, North Carolina. Rounding
out these 10 years Dial's artistic visions are found on all of
the releases of the Quintet.
1987 Garry Dial's debut release "Never Is Now" (Continuum
Records), performed in a trio format, featuring Joey Baron and
Jay Anderson "...showcases his exceptional compositional
chops on 12 originals. Dial displays an effortless supreme melodicism
on tunes both coherent and open-ended enough to allow for significant
participation from his associates." (New Music Report)
a 1989 trip "Downunder", Dial combined his talents as
producer, composer and pianist with James Morrison and artist
Ken Done. "Post Cards from Down Under" (Warner Bros.
Records) won national praise for the pictorial and musical portrayal
of many places in Australia.
his return, Dial's partnership with saxophonist Dick Oatts offered
"Dial & Oatts", co-produced by Tom Jung and recorded
on DMP. Together with the talents of Jay Anderson (bass) and Joey
Baron (drums) this project eloquently combined original compositions
and arrangements with a 30 piece string orchestra.
following year the Dial/Oatts combination released "Brassworks"
on DMP. Incorporating the original compositions and arrangements
of Dial & Oatts and the orchestration and conducting expertise
of Rich DeRosa, "Brassworks" unites the Jazz Quartet
and the brass choir. This recording won "Disc of the Month"
in March of 1991 (CD Review) and was picked by Wayne Thomas of
the Orgonian as one of the 10 best recordings of 1990.
1992 Dial and Oatts teamed up again to record "Dial &
Oatts Verses Cole Porter". Together with Jay Anderson and
Jeff Hirschfield they deliver an interesting project of Cole Porter's
songs while focusing primarily on the verses. Dial's drastic reimaging
of "At Long Last Love" won the top award for the Most
Innovative Arrangement of a Standard in the South Bend Tribune
at the Elkhart Indiana Jazz Festival in 1992.
addition to his work in jazz Dial has also worked with the folk
music group The Roches, playing on three of their recordings and
appearing with them in a video performance. He also collaborated
with Terre Roche on arrangements for her band Terre & Her
Moodswings, which performed at New York's Bottom Line and were
the headliners at the Princeton Council of the Arts First Night
Celebration in 1997.
1990, after fifteen years on the road, Dial joined the faculties
of both The New School and Manhattan School of Music, where he
teaches piano, theory and improvisation.
1992 Dial played on Jerry Bergonzi's playalong record, "Melodic
Structures for Advanced Music".
1995 Dial's playing and compositions were featured along with
saxophonist Chris Potter on "The Brighter Side" by the
Joel Spencer and Kelly Sill Quartet, on Alliance Records. Jazz
critic Neil Tesser (Playboy Magazine) said "Dial's experience
and compositional abilities make him the artistic gatekeeper in
1995 Dial & Oatts presented Brassworks in Finland with the
Radio Orchestra of Helsinki. On that trip he also played quartet
with Jerry Bergonzi.
1997 Dial worked as a consultant with Joey Baron on his CD "Down
Home", featuring Ron Carter, Arthur Blythe and Bill Frisell.
Also in 1997, Dial's compositions were featured in a trio format
on the K-Jazz Allstars' "Straight Ahead"ls with Charles
Fambrough on bass and Ralph Peterson on drums.
the late 1990's the Dial & Oatts band incorporated virtuoso
guitarist Vic Juris in a band called Loose Change which played
in New York City at The Blue Note and Visiones. He continued during
this period to do some live engagements with saxophonists Dick
Oatts, Jerry Bergonzi and Rick Margitza.
went deeper into composition studies in the 1990's These compositions
can be heard on his trio recording "Tea For Three" with
drummer Jeff Hirshfield and bassist John Hebert.
a balance between performing and teaching , he wrote the two-year
theory and performance curriculum for The New School. In the year
2000 Manhattan School of Music took a new course of direction.
With a new chairman, Justin DiCioccio, Dial was appointed head
of the improvisation department where his six-year course of study
has been implemented in the curriculum.
New York Dial has a private teaching practice where he has acted
as producer for some of his students. An impressive group has
studied with him, which includes viberaphonist Stefan Harris and
pianist Jacob Sacks, a finalist in the Monk Competition.
limiting himself to jazz, Dial has taught people from other musical
genres including the Queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige. Billy Joel
and supermodel Christie Brinkley’s daughter Alexa studied
with Garry as she prepared for her musical debut. Amanda Brecker
daughter of Randy Brecker and Brazilian jazz pianist Eliane Elias
has studied with Garry for many years.
2001, Bette Midler came to study music with Garry. She remains
among the growing number of his students. In September of that
year he had the honor of co-writing with pianist Bette Sussman
a New York Medley for Miss Devine's tribute to the fallen World
Trade Center and Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.
the fall of 2001 Dial performed with the Gerry Bergonzi Group
at The Hopewell in Connecticut.
four years Dial contributed to the Euro-Meet Jazz Workshop in
Italy. In addition to doing master classes at the workshop Dial
performed with his trio in Northern Italy and also in Salzburg
and Vienna, Austria.
January 2002 Dial teamed up with Dick Oatts to teach master classes
at The Dutch Conservatory in Amsterdam Holland. Part of an exchange
program with The Manhattan School Of Music, Dial and Oatts performed
at the school and at the local jazz club in Amsterdam.
2003 till the present Garry continued teaching and performing.
Two new projects began to consume his time. One is a CD and video
entitled "US AND THEM", a collection of arrangements
of national anthems in collaboration with folksinger Terre Roche,
and featuring musicians from many countries. He performed two
of the anthems live with the Roches: the Czech anthem at the Bottom
Line in NYC and the Tibetan anthem at Philip Glass's annual Carnegie
Hall benefit concert for Tibet House. This collaboration took
on a new life when Bob Justich became executive producer and started
to make a movie about the project. For a few years a film team
followed Garry and Terre around NY as they interviewed and preformed
with various world musicans for the video. After 17 years of work
on this project has been released in the Fall of 2008. It is available
for purchase on cdbaby.com.
second project was the construction of a house on a Caribbean
island. From his early years living in Bermuda Garry always had
a love of the islands and the water. He bought a piece of land
on the top of a mountain facing the ocean on the island of St.
John and began building a villa. After 4 years Moonswept Villa
was completed and he has been spending time there practicing and
writing. A dream came true of having a busy NY life while being
able to retreat to paradise to compose and reflect.
January 2008 a series of lessons with Garry was filmed and can
be viewed on the internet at Mucony.com.
May 2008 Garry performed with Dick Oatts the music from their
Cole Porter CD At the L.A. Jazz Festival in Los Angeles. In July
of 2008 Dial and Oatts again teamed up in Amsterdam for the Summer
Sept 15th 2008 Garry performed with flutist Anne Drummond At Dizzy's
Coca Cola at Lincoln Center. They played a duo piece which Anne
wrote for him entitled "Garry's Place". Garry And Ms.
Drummond have performed in duo and quartet throughout The United
States and Europe.
2009 Garry performed In NY at the jazz clubs The Knickerbocker
Dec 8th 2009 Garry's teacher of 37 years, Charlie Banacos died
of cancer. His death was a huge blow to the jazz world. A week
before his death Mr Banacos through his family asked Garry to
help continue his teachings. Garry is now teaching private jazz
lessons online through the Banacos family and on his own. Garry’s
lessons are for all instruments and vocalists as well.
performed with vocalist Hilary Kole in 2010 at Birdland in NY.
Garry toured with her quartet to Montreal Canada. In the summer
the quartet played 11 nights at the Umbria Jazz festival in Perugia
Italy. In the fall of 2010 Garry and Ms Kole played in London,
Paris and Istanbul.
star Ben Stiller hired Garry in November of that year to teach
him to play the piano for the Broadway Show " House Of Blue
Pleasure of his Accompaniment” is the title of an article
about Garry featured in the Vocal Ease column of Backstage Magazine
on January 5,2011. ??In March Garry returned with Ms Kole to Istanbul
Turkey to perform at the Jazz Center for a two week engagement.
In April Garry was the featured artist in residence for a three
day jazz festival at The Chesire High School in Chesire Connecticut.
2011 found Garry playing at Smalls in New York City with his quartet,
including Anne Drummond, Steve LaSpina and Richard Derosa.
the years 2010 and 2012, Mark Lamb Dance featured Garry several
times in his Second Saturday Sanctuary Salon Series at Seven.
For this unusual peformance, with no rehearsal at all, Garry's
piano improvisations provided the inspiration for the Mark Lamb
Dancers to create their work on the spot.
the Spring of 2012 Dial and Oatts performed their Brassworks music
with the Manhattan School of Music conducted by Justin Dicioccio
.This was a special evening for Garry because "Brassworks"
shared the bill with Mary Lou Williams's "Zodiac Suite",
in the first performance of this work since the original Town
Hall concert in 1945. Garry brought Fr. Peter O'Brien, Mary Lou's
manager, to speak about Mary. Garry kicked off the show with a
solo blues that Mary taught him when he was only 14 years old.
at Smalls in the fall of 2012 Garry performed trio with Jay Anderson
on bass and Joe Hunt on drums.
Jan 2013 Garry performed in duo with singer Luba Dolgopolsky at
the St John School of the Arts in St John U.S.V.I.
recently adding to the list of his celebrity students, NY Yankee's
legend and Grammy nominated guitarist Bernie Williams began studies
with Garry in improvisation in the spring of 2013.
May of 2013 Garry performed solo piano at a Harlem Piano Jazz
party called "Fist full of Keys" at the club Ginny's.
He Played the music of his teacher MaryLou Williams and Duke Ellington
in tribute to the Harlem Stride greats.
in the same month The Garry Dial Trio featuring Jay Anderson and
Richard DeRosa played the music of Bill Evans at Trumpets Jazz
Club in Montclair, N.J.
July of 2013 Garry gave a master class in the art of improvisation
at Princeton University as part of the Golansky Institute Summer
can be heard on both piano and keyboards on the first CD of "Afro-Jersey",
a trio blending American and West African folk music with original
songs sung in both English and Mandingo. "Afro-Jersey"
was released in the summer of 2013.
January of 2014 Dial performed and taught improvisation at the
two week Civebra 2014 music festival in Brasilia, Brazil. He also
performed in New York and New Jersey with the Garry Dial Trio.
many years Dial and Oatts reunited to present a large scale project
in which they've written original music to the poetry of Walt
Whitman. This features a jazz quintet including trumpeter Terell
Stafford, along with Temple University's 32-voice concert choir.
In addition some of the best vocal soloists working in New York
City today perform on the project. The beautiful choral arrangements
were written and conducted by Rich DeRosa. This project had its
premiere performance at Philadelphia's Temple Performing Arts
Center in October of 2013. The double CD entitled "That Music
Always Round Me“ was released in 2015. It was considered
for a Grammy nomination. And it was in Downbeat Magazine's list
of the best CD's of 2015.
2015 Dial launched the Garry Dial Fund in conjunction with the
Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai West
Hospital in New York City. This fund enabled a full time music
therapy program for radiation cancer patients. It has helped over
350 patients overcome the anxiety of Radiation Therapy when undergoing
treatment for cancer. As part of the gala for the Louis Armstrong
Center Dial performed with his trio alongside New York Yankee
legend and guitarist Bernie Williams and Jazz legend Roy Haynes
both of whom were being honored.
Dial and Bernie Williams were also featured at St. Benedicts Prep,
Dial's alma mater, playing duo and again with the student Jazz
2016 Dial teamed back with Oatts and Derosa to perform and record
their arrangements of "Unheard Ellington" with the WDR
Band in Cologne Germany . It was received with huge success to
sold out crowds in the Philharmonic halls of Cologne and Essen.
Many years ago, these unheard Duke Ellington songs were recorded
by Dial for Duke's sister Ruth Ellington for the family catalogue.
These German concerts were the premiere performances of "Unheard
Ellington." There will be a CD and video released in 2017.
from Germany, Dial performed duo with bassist Steve La Spina at
the Knickerbocker in New York City. A few weeks later he performed
trio with Jay Anderson and Tim Horner at Trumpets in Montclair
three-legged stool as they like to call themselves, Dial, Oatts
and Derosa are currently working on a new big band project of
Dial and Oatts earlier recording "Dial and Oatts vs. Cole
Porter." This project features the verses of Cole Porter
which are seldom heard with jazz instrumentalists.
Dial & Oatts, Red Rodney & Ira Sullivan, Dizzy Gillespie, James
Moody, Gerry Mulligan, Mel Lewis, Sheila Jordan, Joe Lovano, Jerry
Bergonzi, Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Joe Morello, Roy Haynes,
Charlie Persip, Nat Adderly, Gunther Schuller, Toots Thielemans
B.A. Manhattan School of Music
M.A. Manhattan School of Music Berklee College of Music Alumnus
Manhattan School of Music Faculty since 1990
New School of Social Research Faculty since 1990
Private Studies: Charlie Banacos, Mary Lou Williams & Jacki
To view a complete bio please visit Garry's website at GarryDial.com
To view the article “The Pleasure of his Accompaniment”
in Back Stage magazine go to http://www.backstage.com/bso/content_display/advice/e3ie3497c95d03a28cf3acdbc6e2914f903
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