Dial & Oatts
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About Dial & Oatts
Pianist, composer, producer, and teacher Garry Dial and saxophonist Dick Oatts had already put together impressive résumés before joining together to form the post-bop duo Dial & Oatts in 1990. A native of Iowa, Oatts joined the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra soon after moving to New York in 1972. Since then, he's gone on to work with a diverse range of jazz and Latin musicians including Eddie Gomez, Jerry Bergonzi, Lester Bowie, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente, and Gunther Schuller.
A member of the Red Rodney/Ira Sullivan Quintet in the late '70s and early '80s, Dial appeared on the group's Grammy-nominated albums Live at the Village Vanguard in 1980 and Ira Sullivan Does It All in 1981. In addition to brief stints as pianist for James Moody and Gerry Mulligan, he played on three albums and a video by folk-pop trio the Roches. A longtime student of Duke Ellington's piano playing, he was chosen by Ellington's widow, Ruth, to perform and record Ellington's complete catalog for the Ellington family library. Recording a solo album, Never Is Now, in 1987, Dial produced, composed, and played piano for Australian duo James Morrison and Ken Done's album, Postcards from Down Under, two years later.
Playing together since 1990, Dial and Oatts have released three memorable albums. Accompanied by bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Joey Baron, and a 30-piece string section on their debut self-titled album, they were backed by a ten-piece brass ensemble on their second outing, Brassworks. They returned to the jazz quartet format for Play Cole Porter, featuring the rhythm section of Anderson on bass and Jeff Hirschfield on drums.
Both Dial and Oatts remain active as teachers. Oatts has been teaching at the Manhattan School of Music since 1989, while Dial has been teaching piano, theory, and improvisation at both the New School of Social Research and Manhattan School of Music since 1990. Dial and Oatts collaborated to teach master classes at the Dutch Conservatory in Amsterdam, Holland, in 2002. ~ Craig Harris