“As a saxophonist, Del Dako has been a real force on the Canadian jazz scene. In 1995 after the release of his first CD “Balancing Act”, onthe Sackville label, he toured nationally winning over fans where ever the band went. In 1998, a second recording”Vindaloo” was made and there was an eighteen city Canadian tour to promote the album.This brought more fans into the fold. In fact, Del was awarded Top Baritone Saxophonist in the ‘ 93,’ 94 and ‘ 98 Jazz report Awards. Along with this, the band played at Jazz festivals, on television ( “Gabereau Live”) and were recorded on “Jazz Beat” with Katie Malloch several times. Del’s longstanding involvement in a couple of significant Toronto groups, Shox Johnson and the Jive Bombers and Jim Galloway’s Wee Big Band, gave the saxophonist solid grounding in large ensemble playing. But it has always been in a small group setting that he has really shone.
In the last while, Del Dako has turned his attention to the vibes. As a vibraphonist, he has been able to draw on some significant elements of his musical background. Most obviously, the years spent playing the saxophone have given this player a masterful melodic sense. Indeed, Del approaches the new instrument with a ‘horn – like’ sensibility, something not idiosyncratic to the mallet instruments. Secondly, over the past years the saxophonist has played ‘arrangers’ piano, to the point where he has been comfortable enough on the instrument to perform regularly in jam sessions.
Finally, it is a little known fact that Del also practised on the drums and became a competent player on those as well.
So with the mallet technique gained from playing the drums, a voicing and harmonic concept garnered from his piano background and perhaps most importantly, a mature melodic sense from his saxophone playing days, Del Dako draws on some formidable sources from his past. His new voice, the vibraphone, is a clear extension of this past.”