Danny Stiles is an example – one of the very few – of a lead trumpet player blossoming forth as a jazz soloist. Featured with the Bill Watrous Combo on an earlier Famous Door release, "'Bone Straight Ahead," Danny impressed fans and critics alike with his powerful playing. Since then, he has been co-leader of the Manhattan Wildlife Refuge big band with Watrous (the band's first album came out recently on Columbia), and he is an important member of the Bobby Rosengarden big band at the Waldorf Astoria, accompanying singers like Peggy Lee and Tony Bennett. Danny is also much in demand for commercials and recordings.
Previously, Danny played lead trumpet with the famous Gerry Mulligan big band, with Woody Herman, and for years was contractor and first trumpet player for the "Merv Griffin Show." He started at the age of ten in Evansville, Indiana, on a cornet given to him by his uncle. By the age of fifteen he was playing in the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.
Supported by his friend Bill Watrous and by a swinging rhythm team of Rosengarden, Milt Hinton, and Derek Smith, Danny will impress listeners with his playing on both ballads and instrumentals.
Also listen carefully to the fine two-handed piano playing of Derek Smith, a young man who should be recorded far more often; and to the fine bass playing of Milt Hinton, who has been on every Famous Door album recorded in New York... this is indeed an auspicious debut for jazz trumpeter Danny Stiles.
~Harry Lim (1974) * from liner notes