Dale Fielder is an American jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader. Best known in recent years as a baritone saxophonist, he is a multi-instrumentalist who plays all four saxophones: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone with equal authority. He is also known for his original compositions and choice of performing rare, obscure jazz classics as well as his varied group concepts and the variety of presentations. Fielder has recorded over 16 CDs as a leader for various labels since he first appeared on the national jazz scene in 1993 with his first CD Free Flow.
Dale Fielder grew up in Midland, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh where he studied oboe, bassoon and tuba in the school system and clarinet, saxophone, composition and arranging privately with noted Pittsburgh area tenor saxophonist Phillip Celli. During his high school years, he also performed in the local territory R&B band, The Ohio Supremes, based out of Steubenville OH, that was affiliated with the Stax Recording Company. Fielder is also a product of the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Studies Program, where he studied as an ethnomusicology major under Dr. Nathan Davis. Fielder’s debut jazz performance was a member of the Joe Harris Quartet, former drummer of the Charlie Parker Quintet and Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. After relocating to NYC, he was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1984, studying with trumpeter/composer Frank Gordon and completed his first large work, The Aquarian for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra. While in NYC, he also performed with a host of current jazz stars such as pianist/composer Geri Allen and trombonist Robin Eubanks among many others.
After eight years in NYC, Fielder moved to Los Angeles and studied with alto legend, Charles McPherson. He then embarked on the challenging path of becoming a band leader, establishing the Dale Fielder Quartet, the DFQ, with pianist Harold Land, Jr. in 1988. After bursting on the national jazz scene with two top-twenty CDs: Free Flow (1993) and Know Thyself (1995), in 1996, Fielder recorded a very successful national top-ten CD, Dear Sir: Tribute To Wayne Shorter to widespread critical acclaim. In 1997, Fielder received his first commission and wrote the extended eleven-movement jazz suite, Ocean Of Love And Mercy, which was recorded in performance by an all-star Nonet and released by Cadence Jazz Records. He has since performed throughout Europe and Asia with his Quartet. Selected as BET’s 1999 Jazz Discovery winner, Fielder has taped several subsequent video appearances and shows for BET.
In 2003, Fielder released his most important and ambitious work, his hour-long third extended jazz suite, Suite: Clarity to international critical acclaim. His 2005 CD, Baritone Sunride also received international attention bringing Fielder recognition as one of the top new baritone saxophonists in jazz. His July 2007 release DFQ~Plays The Music Of Pepper Adams, continues to document his classic jazz quartet, now with legendary Ex-Mingus jazz pianist, Jane Getz. Fielder’s recent projects include performances with his avant-garde quartet, Luminous Monolith, his fourth extended work, Light and Shadow, commissioned and performed at Lenoir-Rhyne College of Fine Arts in North Carolina and his on-going exploration of the music of Pepper Adams, this time with performances with baritone great Gary Smulyan. Fielder also performed and acted in the play “Nobody Walks Like My Daddy” and won a nomination for ‘Best Supporting Male Actor” by the NAACP Theater Awards in 2012. In 2013, Fielder performed with his Dale Fielder Tribute Quintet with a new project focusing on the music of the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet of 1958-1961. The music from this project has been recorded and released as the CD “Each Time I Think of You” on the Clarion Jazz label in October of 2012 and is available on iTunes and CD Baby.com. For 2014, Fielder released his 15th CD: “Dream Dancing” – Dale Fielder Live @ Lincoln Park. He is currently back with his Quartet, DFQ~Dale Fielder Quartet with pianist Jane Getz performing at venues and festivals. Fielder has also released the band’s 20th Anniversary 2-disc CD DFQ~Dale Fielder Quartet,“Resilience” in summer 2016.