Dan Balmer has long
been considered the finest jazz guitarist in Oregon. His
recent induction into the Jazz Society of Oregon's Hall of Fame, as it's
youngest member and first guitarist, is just the latest recognition of
talent as a performer, composer, and educator.
Dan began performing in his late teens with, among others, saxophone
legend Jim Pepper and joined Tom Grant's internationally known group in
the 1980's. His partnership with Grant led to many successful recordings
and national tours as they helped create and define the sound of
Following his stint with the Grant band, Dan became a well known leader
in his own right releasing seven recordings that gained national praise
recognition. The Los Angeles Times proclaimed Dan as..."the model of
what a contemporary guitarist should be."
In his live concerts and recordings Dan presents a unique blend of
contemporaryand traditional jazz styles, juxtaposed with influences
ranging from pop to Brazilian music. Paired with his virtuosity as a
guitarist, every performance is especially crafted to reach its audience.
As well as leading his own groups, Dan has been in demand as a sideman,
recording and playing with almost every Northwest artist of note
David Friesen, Mel Brown, Ron Steen, Patrick Lamb, John Nilsen, etc. As
result, his guitar sound is represented on over 70 CDs.
Dan has also performed or recorded with jazz legends Joey Defrancesco,
Airto, Red Mitchell, Bob Florence, John Clayton, Bill Mays, Steve Smith,
Pat Martino, Bud Shank, and Joe LaBarbara among others.
Currently, Dan leads his ever popular group, The Dan Balmer Trio as well
as his new cooperative band, Go By Train. He is also a member of
Portland's most popular jazz band, The Mel Brown B-3 Organ Quartet, The
Mel Brown Quartet and The David Friesen Quintet.
Dan's most recent recording is Through These Years, a compilation of
many of his most popular songs from 1989-1996 with two brand new pieces
included. He also has recently recorded with both Mel Brown ensembles
and with the popular singer songwriter McKinley. Both Dan and Go By
Train plan on new releases in the coming year.
Dan is also well know as an educator having lectured at USC, University
California at Berkley, University of Oregon, Spokane Falls Community
College, and University of Alaska at Anchorage, as well as
internationally in Spain and Canada. He is a regular faculty member of
the Western Oregon University Mel Brown Jazz Workshop and John Clayton's
Centrum Jazz Workshop in Port Townsend. Dan also runs the jazz band at
Lewis and Clark College and has taught there for over twenty years.
As a composer, Dan's works have been popular on radio and have been used
in films, television, commercials, and even choreographed by The Oregon
Ballet Theater. Recently he has been commissioned to write a piece for
the new music ensemble, Third Angle.
Dan's playing and composing have won rave reviews from critics around
country. The Palm Beach Post wrote..."guitarist Dan Balmer's fast
runs and twisting figures were arresting." The Seattle Times proclaimed,
"Balmer's top fuel solos and tasty octave work...were most satisfying."
Anchorage Daily News stated, "Balmer turned in a top notch unstinting
performance." Everyone seems to agree that Dan offers a rare combination
of original, high quality music that makes him one of the most versatile,
talented, and popular artists in the Northwest.