He was credited as both Danny Bank and Danny Banks, but it can be assumed neither singular nor plural financial lending institutions would have been in a hurry to get to know the man. His career, that of a freelance jazz horn player, has never been considered a bastion of security. Likewise, jazz listeners may not be that familiar with him, since he was a player who was attracted to the background, sticking to section parts in big bands and diving into the anonymous waters of horn-for-hire recording sessions. Born Daniel Bernard Bank, this artist actually did quite well for himself, especially in an action-packed decade as a New York City session man, which began in the early '50s. Bank deposited at least a few years of his career in the company of bandleader Charlie Barnet, including a stint from 1942-1944 and several return engagements in subsequent years.
Bank also loaned his services to leaders such as Benny Goodman, who was so paranoid that Bank's baritone sax sound would cover up his clarinet that he insisted Bank only play in the instrument's falsetto register. He also gigged with both Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw, and Paul Whiteman, the latter for a two-year stretch beginning in 1946. One way Bank kept his account full was to offer a variety of instrumental possibilities, covering low horns such as baritone saxophone and bass clarinet as well as doubling on flute and the regular clarinet. He recorded with the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Rex Stewart, Ralph Burns, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, and many others. For this Bank, the initials would stand for "Album Thick with Musicians." His speciality was the extended, ambitious album project, especially if a big band was going to be assembled. Unlike many later recording studio horn players, however, Bank came from a generation who had enjoyed extensive big band experience. A high point of his recording career, as well as one of the largest groups ever assembled in a studio, was the Charles Mingus orchestral project Let My Children Hear Music. Bank was also a respected woodwinds teacher. ~ Eugene Chadbourne