Dan Balmer has long been considered one of the finest guitarists, composers, and educators in the Northwest. In 2009 Dan became one of only five Oregonians to be honored with membership in both The Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame. He is the youngest person to be included in both Halls, and is hailed by the Los Angeles Times as, “the model of what a
contemporary guitarist should be.”
From 2005-2009 Dan toured and recorded with two time Grammy Winner Diane Schuur playing in over 15 countries and 60 cities. When not on the road with Ms. Schuur he leads his own groups and continues his long standing gigs with drummer Mel Brown, David Friesen, and others.
Dan has appeared on over 80 CDs including eight of his own which have received critical acclaim and international airplay. Dan’s music has been featured in movies and television shows both in the U.S. and overseas.
His most recent CD, “Thanksgiving”, features New York heavyweights Gary Versace and Matt Wilson in a free spirited romp through several of Dan’s compositions. Marty Hughley, music critic for The Oregonian wrote, “Dan Balmer, the veteran Northwest guitar star, teams with two of New York’s finest to re-imagine the organ trio. The tunes are bright and inviting as much so for the improvisers as for listeners and the playing highlights the emotional warmth of Balmer’s approach with marvelous technique and vibrant imagination.”
This recording was a departure from his earlier more “produced” efforts that reflected Dan’s desire to fuse the emotional elements of pop, country, and rock into jazz structures.
His collaborative group, “Go By Train”, is currently working on a new CD following up two earlier efforts on the “Alternative Jazz” label.
Other recent recordings include “Some Other Time” with Diane Schuur, “5 and 3” with David Friesen, “Smokin’ at Jimmy’s” with the Mel Brown B-3 organ group, “Live, An Evening with the Mel Brown Quartet”, and a soon to be released recording lead by Alan Jones and French saxophonist Francois Tiberje.
During the 1980’s and 90’s Dan enjoyed a highly successful ten year musical partnership with pianist Tom Grant that produced several chart topping recordings, national tours, and huge popularity around the Northwest.
Perhaps Dan’s greatest asset is his versatility. He has done recording sessions in all genres from jazz, to country, to rock and blues. His playing is requested by band leaders in all jazz styles from traditional swinging jazz to fusion to soul funk to free.
Dan has performed with a long list of jazz greats including Joey DeFrancesco, Benny Green, Steve Smith. Airto, Bruce Forman, Houston Person, Jeff Hamilton, Bill Mays, Gerald Wilson, Eric Alexander, and Pat Martino among others.
Dan’s playing and composing have won rave reviews from critics around the country. The Palm Beach Post wrote…”guitarist Dan Balmer’s fast fingered runs and twisting figures were arresting.” The Seattle Times proclaimed, “Balmer’s top fuel solos and tasty octave work…were most satisfying.” The Anchorage Daily News stated, “Balmer turned in a top notch unstinting performance.”