- Dale Oehler
Oehler at a recording session in the mid-1990s
Background information Born October 1, 1941 Origin Springfield, Illinois Occupations Arranger, composer, musician, producer Instruments Piano Years active 1957–present Labels Elektra/Asylum and others
Dale Dixon Oehler (born 1 October 1941) is primarily known as an arranger. His style contributed to the success of much of the music he was involved with over his career. Leonard Feather once described Oehler, in his Los Angeles Times Jazz column, as "an adaptable writer".
Oehler was able to fuse various elements to enhance several genre of music he worked on, including jazz, pop, country, R&B or easy listening. His credits include artists such as Marvin Gaye, Freddie Hubbard, Joni Mitchell and Andre Kostelanetz.
His early childhood was influenced by his father, Ray Dixon Oehler, and his mother, Ann, whose love of music was inspiring. Ray, who played under the professional name of Ray Dixon, played piano with Ray Anthony, Jimmy Dorsey, Barrett Deems and Sidney Bechet. Some of his father's other associates were Jimmy Raney and Al Haig. (One of Dale’s early memories was sitting on a barstool singing Dizzy Gillespie’s "Salt Peanuts" for them.)
In his early childhood, Dale received formal piano training in the Classics. His father encouraged the awareness of classical music during Sunday sessions listening to radio broadcast concerts featuring the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as well as recordings by Vladimir Horowitz and Walter Gieseking.
While in his teens, Oehler started playing jazz gigs in the Springfield, Illinois area after he discovered his love of Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He later played at clubs in the Chicago area while attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. It was then that he became aware of Gil Evans' work with Miles Davis which became a lifelong influence.
After graduation he went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to play with J.R. Monterose at the Tender Trap. Other notables that came through the club were Al Jarreau, Dave Sanborn, Freddie Waits and Cecil McBee. He segued from playing in Cedar Rapids to attending the University of Iowa at Iowa City where he pursued his master's degree in Composition and was able to establish the first Jazz Program at that university. While going to school, he represented the University of Iowa at the University of Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1965 where he received Best Arranger and Best Pianist awards, as judged by Quincy Jones and Clark Terry.
Oehler also played on, what has now become, a collector’s item, J.R. Monterose (Studio 4 Records, 1964). While at the University of Iowa, he arranged his first professional record for Bugsy Maugh (Dot Records, 1968), which received a Grammy Award nomination the following year.
In 1969, Oehler, now married, moved to the Los Angeles, California area to pursue a career in music. In the early 1970s, Oehler again met up with J.J. Johnson, whom had met in the early 1960s when Johnson was with the Miles Davis band. Johnson was responsible for introducing Dale to Marvin Gaye, with whom he subsequently arranged "Trouble Man" (1972), which was the main title for the movie of the same name. Also during this period, he reconnected with Tom McIntosh, whom he had first met in 1962 while Tom was with the Art Farmer and Benny Golson Jazztet. Tom was instrumental in providing the opportunity to write various film cues, which included "Shaft’s Big Score." It was on that film that Dale met Freddie Hubbard, following which Freddie asked Dale to arrange his first Columbia record, entitled "High Energy" (1974). He also worked on "You Light Up My Life," arranging the title tune for Andre Kostelanetz.
The next major period in Oehler's career began at Blue Note Records. Beginning in 1975, he worked with Bobby Hutcherson, Carmen McRae and Horace Silver. His Warner Bros. Records work included Al Jarreau, Randy Crawford and Jennifer Holliday. He also worked on Joni Mitchell's "Hissing of the Summer Lawns" (Elektra/Asylum).
In 1978, Oehler produced and arranged the Freddie Hubbard album, Super Blue, which featured Joe Henderson, Hubert Laws, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Barron and George Benson. This album was designed to provide a return to Freddie’s jazz roots while still being commercially viable.
Dale currently resides in Southern California and plays golf as often as the weather allows.
Title Year Label Carnival of the Spirits (Moacir Santos, artist) 1975 Blue Note Records|Blue Note Montara (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1975 Blue Note Records|Blue Note Can’t Hide Love (Carmen McRae, artist) 1976 Blue Note Records Waiting (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1976 Blue Note Records Knucklebean (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1977 Blue Note Records Promise Me the Moon (Dave Sanborn, artist) 1977 Warner Bros. Records View from the Inside (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1977 Blue Note Records Super Blue (Freddie Hubbard, artist) 1978 Columbia Records Un Poco Loco (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1980 Columbia Records
Title Year Label Inside Bugsy (Bugsy Maugh, artist)]' 1968 Dot Records Shaft’s Big Score (film cues) 1972 MGM Trouble Man (Marvin Gaye, artist) 1972 Tamla High Energy (Freddie Hubbard, artist) 1974 Columbia Willie Dynamite (film cues) 1974 MCA Hissing of the Summer Lawns (Joni Mitchell, artist 1975 Elektra/Asylum Who Is This Bitch, Anyway? (Marlena Shaw, artist) 1975 Blue Note Records Can’t Hide Love (Carmen McRae, artist 1976 Blue Note Glow (Al Jarreau, artist)]' 1976 Warner Bros. Promise Me the Moon (Dave Sanborn, artist) 1977 Warner Bros. You Light Up My Life (Andre Kostelanetz, artist) 1978 Columbia Records Super Blue (Freddie Hubbard, artist) 1978 Columbia Records Blue Note Meets the L.A. Philharmonic (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1978 Blue Note Records Silver and Strings, (Horace Silver, artist) 1978 Blue Note Records Suspended Animation (Randy Crawford, artist) 1979 Warner Bros. Records Un Poco Loco (Bobby Hutcherson, artist) 1980 Columbia Records Secret Combination (Randy Crawford, artist) 1981 Warner Bros. Records Nightline, (Randy Crawford, artist) 1983 Warner Bros. Records Say You Love Me, (Jennifer Holliday, artist) 1985 Warner Bros. Records All the Way (Jimmy Scott, artist) 1992 Sire Records Invitation (Joe Sample, artist) 1993 Warner Bros. Records Something Special (Dolly Parton, artist) 1995 Sony Records In This Life (Kirk Whalum, artist) 1995 Columbia Records Love Walked In (Diane Schuur, artist) 1995 Verve Records Forever Love (Mark Whitfield, artist; feat. Diana Krall) 1997 Verve Records
Title Year Label J.R. Monterose (J.R. Monterose, artist) 1964 Studio 4 Inside Bugsy (Bugsy Maugh, artist) 1968 Dot Records Promise Me the Moon (David Sanborn, artist) 1977 Warner Bros. Super Blue (Freddie Hubbard, artist) 1978 Columbia Records Live at the Tender Trap (Reissue) 1993 Fresh Sound
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