Dan Gabel has LOVED music since he was
very little. The first concert he attended was at Tanglewood in Lenox,
MA, hearing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. His favorite classical
composers are J.S. Bach and Beethoven, and he still loves to go to
He was first introduced to Jazz/Swing when his parents bought him a
Tommy Dorsey CD, "The Seventeen Number Ones." He instantly fell in
love with the man, the instrument, and the music, and the rest, they
say, is history. "I've been collecting all types of Records and CDs
most of my life, and now I'm running out of room for them all!" he
Dan has been playing trombone since he was ten years old in 4th grade.
"I chose the trombone first because my Dad played it in high school,
and second because there weren't any in the band at the time, and they
needed some good low brass" recalls Dan. After picking up his Dad's
great old King 2B (which Dan still plays), Dan was first taught to
play by Mrs. Barri Baggett in middle school. He then received private
lessons from Mrs. Avril Waye, and studied with Mr. Tony Lada. Later,
Dan went under the tutelage of Mr. Lou Borelli, "who has been a source
of infinite inspiration and knowledge." Dan currently studies
arranging and composition with Mr. Borelli and Mr. Dick Odgren, both
providing a wealth of knowledge and experience in the music business.
He studied trombone with Professor David Sporny at UMass Amherst,
which Dan says "Is one of the best things I have done, I enjoy and
learn very much from Mr. Sporny!"
Currently, Dan is taking lessons with Mr. Norman Bolter, recently
retired Boston Symphony Orchestra Trombonist, and Lead Trombone in the
"I first got the idea to form a band a few years back," he remembers,
"when I began talking with my friends about Dorsey, Teagarden,
Goodman, and Miller, and they had no clue who these people were!" He
decided to make a band that would help keep alive the sound of the
great sounds of Jazz, Ragtime, and Swing. The "Abletones" were born in
2003, as a quartet. Nick Helpa came up with the name, with Nick and
Dana Howes on sax, Jim Gancarz (Dan's best friend) on drums, and Dan
writing all the arrangements, playing trombone, tuba, baritone horn,
trumpet, and singing. It soon became apparent that more musicians were
needed to fully capture the sound of a big band, so Dan gradually
added more players. "I am so happy and proud to be the leader of this
band. It has been great playing with so many excellent musicians. We
all love the music, playing together, and enjoy each others company as
well. The players are not just musicians but have become good friends
Dan Gabel studyed at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst,
triple-majoring in Political Science, Legal Studies, and Jazz History.
Dan recently completed a year-long world tour with the GLENN MILLER
Trombone Influences: Tommy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Turk Murphy, Bud
Trow, Kid Ory, Buddy Morrow, Larry O'Brien, Glenn Miller, Spiegle
Wilcox, Miff Mole, J.C. Higginbotham, Roy Palmer, 'Big Jim'
Robinson, Jack Jenney, Bill Rank, Dicky Wells, Abe Lincoln (the
trombonist), Urbie Green, Bill Harris, Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper,
Dan uses "Bud" Trow's tuba, which recently was given to Dan. It is
a very old Orsi model from Milan, probably from around 1915. "It may
be old, it may not look the best, but I'm sure proud to play Bud's
tuba." It gets a great big sound, perfect for the 1920's arrangements.
"Whenever I play it, I will remember fondly my friend Bud" says Dan.
Dan also has a collection of instruments including a soprano
trombone, a bugle, an alto sax, an accordion, among other things.
Dan is very proud of his collection of vintage drums. He has a set
based off a 1932 28" Leedy Bass Drum with the original pedal, along
with Leedy Temple Blocks, a Leedy Hi-Sock Cymbal from 1928, and
various other "traps" from the period!