Multi-reedist Dave Tofani has had a long and illustrious career as one of the most in-demand session players in New York. In this first section of the interview, Dave discusses his musical beginnings and his studies with his mentor, Joe Allard, and some of the concepts that he learned from him. I first heard of Dave Tofani during my initial year of study with Joe Allard. In the 50+ years since, I have come to know and admire Dave as well as respect his musicianship and dedication to his craft. His beautiful, resonant sounds on every instrument and the compositional sense he plays with has been an inspiration for me throughout my career and set a standard for multiple woodwind players that few have ever achieved. His career embodied the definition of a true musician’s musician—an artist who is fluent in commercial, jazz, classical, orchestral, chamber music, studio, and solo work. In the 1970s, Dave’s performances with the New York Saxophone Quartet (Ray Beckenstein, Al Regni, Wally Kane) were eye-opening and helped motivate me to explore that repertoire. In addition, I will always be grateful for his support and encouragement in creating and developing the woodwind doubling program at New Jersey City University at the beginning of the millennium. Dave was a part of that faculty during its infancy and even performed his compositions from An American Garden at the school with our doubling and jazz majors. I hope you enjoy this discussion with a New York studio legend and please visit www.DaveTofani.com to learn more about Dave and to purchase his recordings.
About the Artist: Dave Tofani is representative of the great musicians who permeated the New York studio and freelance scene for much of the latter half of the 20th century. Dave began his professional music career while still an undergraduate at The Juilliard School. Selected by his mentor Joe Allard to perform with the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra, Dave quickly became an important part of the vibrant New York studio scene that existed in the 1960s-2000. He has appeared on over 600 commercial recording and over 100 movie soundtracks. The list of artists he has appeared with is a Who’s Who of the music industry including Quincy Jones, John Lennon, the New York Philharmonic, Steely Dan, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Dave Sanborn, George Benson, James Galway, Bill Evans, Natalie Cole, James Brown, Buddy Rich, Aretha Franklin, the Dave Matthews Big Band, and hundreds more. A virtuoso instrumentalist on all saxophones, clarinets, and flutes, Dave was a three-time recipient of the NARAS Most Valuable Player Award voted on by his musical colleagues and the only woodwind artist to ever be nominated on 5 different woodwinds: soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet, and flute. Dave is also a formidable composer and arranger whose compositions are featured on all his solo recordings. Two of those albums—Manhattan Carnival and An American Garden—were Grammy nominated.