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Dan Gabel is a passionate musician - trombonist, bandleader, and arranger - dedicated to the preservation, perpetuation, and performance of jazz!
Dan Gabel has been passionate about music since first hearing the
sounds of Beethoven to Big Bands at the age of three. Born about six
decades too late in 1988, he started playing his father’s vintage King
2-B at the age of ten. By age thirteen, Dan began his professional
music life playing trombone in local Big Bands. In 2003, following his
dream to have his own big band, he formed “Dan Gabel and The
Abletones” with his best friend and drummer, Jim Gancarz. With the
help and encouragement of his friend and mentor Dr. Warren “Bud” Trow,
Gabel became more serious and deeply interested in leading the 14-
piece Big Band. After considerable work and perseverance, the young
trombonist was playing often, and in various groups. The Abletones
began playing some fine venues in Central Massachusetts sporting new
ties and stand fronts purchased with Dan’s own money earned by washing
cars and working at a local law office. Further encouragement came
from Mr. Joe Burke, music teacher Holy Name High School (who today
plays Bass trombone in the Abletones). Gabel continued playing upon
entering the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2007 while
pursuing a degree in Political Science.
Taking time off from school in 2009, Dan Gabel was hired to play trombone with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, enjoying a year-long gig that included 46 states, Canada and an extensive tour of Japan. He worked as an arranger for the Miller band, and served as the band historian contributing a highly-praised monthly article titled History Notes. Returning to school and the New England scene in 2010, Dan has since played with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Hal McIntyre Orchestra, The Wolverine Jazz Band, The Compaq Big Band, Debby Boone, Rob Zapulla, Sheila Jordan and many others.
Upon returning from the road, Gabel has begun to focus on Big Band music. Dan Gabel and The Abletones were re-born in January of 2010 as a full 18-piece Big Band. In the two years that followed, The Abletones have played to great acclaim at the “Brown Bag Concert” series at Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester, “Jazz at Sunset” (now “Live at Sunset”) series at the Worcester EcoTarium, a tour of Vermont, and many venues throughout New England. The band released their first CD “Yes, Indeed!” produced, directed, and mostly arranged by Gabel. The album was recorded with vintage tube and ribbon microphones effectively achieving an authentic live Big Band sound. Dan plays on a vintage 1935 King “Silvertone” trombone regularly, in keeping with his attention to historic detail.
As a student of historical arranging techniques and early jazz arrangers, Dan has cultivated a special talent and passion for arranging music. Gabel’s talents as an arranger are in-demand, and he recently wrote an original commission for the Torrington Symphony Orchestra’s 50thAnniversary concert. He has also done arrangements by commission for the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, and transcriptions and arrangements for: the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, The Jolly Kopperschmidts German Band, The New England Banjo Ensemble, plus marching bands and many jazz combo orchestrations. Dan is also an avid vintage vinyl record collector (2,000 and counting!) as well as jazz and big band memorabilia.
As an historian and musicologist, Dan Gabel’s article “Singin’ the Blues: The Pioneering Arrangements of Bill Challis” (February, 2012) has received several awards and critical acclaim in the academic world. Current research projects include a joint-research grant with Prof. Tom Giampietro exploring the arrangements and drumming of Chick Webb. Gabel is also preparing a presentation on his research and analysis of the early arrangements of Billy May for a lecture series. Dan Gabel holds a double Bachelor’s Degree with Commonwealth College Honors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His degrees are in Political Science and BDIC (Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration) with a concentration in Jazz History. He continues his education in the Masters and Doctoral program at New England Conservatory.
Dan Gabel began his involvement with the American Big Band Preservation Society in early 2011 as the resident historian, archivist, and bandleader. After co-planning a highly successful fundraiser in November of 2011, Gabel became much more serious about his involvement and dedication to the organization and its mission. In February of 2012, he was honored to have been chosen as the next President and CEO of the ABBPS. He looks forward to sharing his passion for Big Band music to helping guide the organization toward greater exposure in preserving, promoting, and performing Big Band arrangements, America’s original musical art form.