Jazz fans who like their trombonists up front and center in a small combo setting may want to substitute "dull" for this artist's surname of Dahl -- but that would be overlooking trombonist Jim Dahl's contribution as a seasoned, tasteful, and masterfully efficient member of large brass sections, be they part of an orchestral concert band or the expanded visions of a smooth jazz arranger such as Creed Taylor. Also credited as the more formal James Dahl and the fully formal James Russell Dahl, the trombonist has compiled a discography in which there are plenty of examples to support any of the adjectives previously used in praise.
Dahl's seasoning, however, goes back even further than the first dates in his discography, all the way back to his Minnesota family band that was also something of a musical band. His father was a bassist, mom played organ, his brother played trumpet, and his sister played piano. Dahl continued his studies in school, focusing at first on tuba, which he continued to use as a double throughout his career. He began climbing aboard professional band buses as soon as his military career ended; in fact, he apparently joined the Clyde McCoy band the very day his bond to Uncle Sam was broken. The tasteful aspect of the trombonist's career is apparent in the list of subsequent employers, bringing to mind the fine and healthy Indian lentil dish known as "dhal" but pronounced the same as "Dahl." He recorded and performed a great deal with Johnny Richards, also Claude Thornhill, Manny Albam, Woody Herman, Jackie Gleason, and Tito Puente. Dahl also shows up on some pop records on which a brass section is utilized, including Neil Sedaka sides.