Harold Danko – an interview

Photo by Julia Radschiner

Photo by Julia Radschiner

Pianist and teacher Mark Polishook (check out his great teaching website here) recently had a chance to sit down with another great pianist and teacher, Harold Danko. Mark writes that Harold “is of the last generation of fabulous jazz players who came up through famous “name” big bands. For Harold, it was Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd, the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra, and the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band.”  The long discussion covers everything from Harold’s early days to performing to influences to teaching at Eastman. From the interview:

MP: What was it like to be a long-term member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra?

HD: The vibe of the Thad and Mel Band was extraordinary. Thad, Mel, Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, and Gregory Herbert were real jazz heavyweights. Also, Larry Schneider was a new tenor guy starting to make his mark in those days.

Pepper Adams had so much instant fire and control. Jerry Dodgion is a fantastic player and one of the sweetest and most well loved musicians in the world. Gregory had it all. His sound was beautiful. His control of the horn and passion were amazing. He was a great musician and friend. Later on Rich Perry and Dick Oatts came on the band, and I really connected with their playing.

They’re all great personalities. I am honored to feel like I somehow belonged in the club.

Click here to read Harold Danko – an interview

—Peter Blasevick