New CD! New Video!

Listen to a podcast of February, 2015 WGLT INTERVIEW

Featured in the March 2015 issue of DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE

MUSICIAN! available in paperback and Kindle editions

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I wrote Kenai (from the Back In The Mix CD) after my first trip to Alaska. The song and the video are dedicated to the protection and preservation of the amazing Kenai Peninsula.



As local as local gets! Start with three of Portland’s leading ladies – Rebecca Kilgore, Anandi Gefroh, and Laura Cunard, – add eight first-class musicians, including Dan Balmer, Michael Raynor, Dan Gaynor, John Moak, and Israel Annoh, and you’ve got a sublime sonic affair.

Wilensky keeps it moving using various configurations (duets to nonets) and innovative, joyful arrangements of eight new originals and five covers, including Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do” and Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter In the Rain.” A superb horn section and percussion add even more dimension and color.

Click on the LISTEN button to hear tracks from Made In Portland.



Dan Wilensky’s Back In The Mix features Mark Soskin (piano), Dean Johnson (bass), Tony Moreno (drums), and special guest Russ Johnson (trumpet) in a musical tour-de-force.

"Brilliant." –Midwest Record (February, 2012)

Wilensky’s 4th recording as a leader includes new arrangements of Cole Porter’s “Falling In Love With Love,” Gross and Lawrence’s “Tenderly,” “Lament” by the great J.J. Johnson, and 6 new Wilensky originals. The creative virtuosity of long-time band mates Dean Johnson and Tony Moreno propel the group to greater heights. Russ Johnson, recently featured in Lee Konitz’s band, and Mark Soskin, a longtime member of Sonny Rollins’ group, are simply superb.

Click on the LISTEN button to hear tracks from Back In The Mix.

Check out the band members' websites on the LINKS page.


Group Therapy features guitarist David Phelps, bassist Dean Johnson, drummer Tony Moreno, and Wilensky on tenor saxophone. This project celebrates several gifts we often take for granted: spontaneous collective improvisation; harmony in discord; the moment.

". . . uncanny group empathy." –Jazz Times (October, 2011)

It's a pleasure to hear musicians of this caliber interpret my compositions: every time we play, the possibilities multiply. After our first rehearsal, I had to reassess many of my assumptions – an inevitable part of a healthy creative process, and a sign that I had called the right players. By the time we hit the studio, we were a band.

Group Therapy was recorded March 21, 2011 at Charlestown Road Studios in Hampton, New Jersey by Paul Wickcliffe. The CD includes 8 new original compositions, a new take on Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," and a version of "Downtown" featuring Tony Moreno that's decidedly more downtown New York than the original. A few of the compositions employ open structures, and I'm inspired by the results. If you're a fan of any of the individual members of this band, this CD will become an indispensable part of your collection. If this is the first time you've heard these guys, this could be the beginning of a beautiful thing!

Click on the LISTEN button to hear tracks from Group Therapy.

Be sure to find out more about the musicians who played on this recording on the LINKS page.


Dan Wilensky's 2010 release, If You Only Knew, features pianist Bob Himmelberger (Charlie Rouse, Nelson Riddle), bassist Dean Johnson (Gerry Mulligan, Bill Frisell), and drummer Scott Neumann (Dave Liebman, Maria Schneider). The CD includes 9 original compositions by Wilensky, plus new versions of "Tea For Two," and Horace Silver's "Peace."

"Were we to consider If You Only Knew academically, it would be a master class on composition, interpretation, performance, practice and repertoire selection." –All About Jazz (March, 2011)

Due to a busy schedule as a sideman, studio musician, composer and author, this is Wilensky's first record as a leader since 1997. "I woke up one morning this spring, and knew that it was time to get back to recording my own music. The new songs started to flow, and the band clicked right away. Bob, Dean and Scott play with command, sensitivity and heart, which made this project a joy from start to finish." The result is jazz that doesn't rely on thousands of notes per square inch. Wilensky delivers with his signature sound, strong melodic sense, and seductive compositions.

On the music: "I've been writing music since I was 12. In fact I wrote one tune from the CD, 'In Our Time,' when I was 17. But a lot of my material was work-for-hire stuff, or wasn't recorded properly. Most of the new material for this record was written during the month after I played several gigs with my quartet; I couldn't stop hearing new music in my mind. As a composer, you hope for these periods of heightened awareness. The only words that came to mind were 'Finally. Thank you.'"

"If You Only Knew" was recorded August August 11 and 12, 2010 at Bennett Studios in Engelwood, New Jersey by ace engineer Dave Kowalski.

Click on the LISTEN button above to hear tracks from If You Only Knew.

Check out the websites for the band members on the LINKS page.

Also available at iTunes.


And Then Some is a warm, soulful, left-of-center combo platter of instrumental funk, blues, and jazz starring Wilensky and 20 of New York's first-call musicians; not your average bear.

Dan Wilensky's debut CD, And Then Some, was released in 1997, but sounds truly fresh. It features 17 original instrumentals, recorded and mixed in New York's best studios by Kyle Kelso. Passion, soul, and humor reign on this recording. Wilensky blends elements of funk, blues, jazz, and rock in a timeless-sounding tour de force. You'll hear some of New York's finest, including Vinnie Zummo, Shawn Pelton, Wayne Pedzwater, Jack Morer, John Conte, Ira Siegal, Vicki Genfan, Gary Sieger, and Jeff Levine.

Musician's Exchange said, "Wilensky's tone - whether on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes or flute and alto flute - is full of depth and warmth and expression. "

Also available at iTunes.


A Practical Guide for Students, Music Lovers, Amatuers, Profesionals, Superstars, Wannabees and Has-Beens

This is a book for all musicians, and anyone who loves music. It includes music history, philosophy, assorted tricks of the trade, proactive advice for the downtrodden, and wild tales from the trenches.

Excellent perspective for any successful career.

Musician! is an absolutely fantastic read! . . .Even those of us with no musical aspirations beyond tapping a finger to the next pop hit will find enjoyment here.

Enthusiasm always makes a great teacher and it is plain to see that this author has a lot to teach us about music and life. From handling success, to dealing with failures, plateaus and dry periods, the concepts presented here are applicable to almost every career. You can not help but take serious note of any suggestions coming from someone who has played with so many of the great artists of our time. I would highly recommend sharing this book not only with every musician you know but also with your friends and family."

-- March 18, 2010, Timothy Sheehan, Philadelphia PA

For the neophyte, Wilensky demystifies the process of becoming a "real" musician. For the typical late-night club musician he provides a list of reasons and ways to advance. For the fortunate elite among you, he shares his insights on how to capture and maintain the elusive creative fire that separates the journeyman from the virtuoso. For the general reader, the author includes humorous stories and anecdotes from the Wild Wild West that is the music business. From nurturing young musicians to helping professionals cultivate their own identity, Wilensky examines familiar territory with a fresh perspective, and illuminates subjects that are rarely discussed. He has an enduring love for all types of music and musicians, and his passion for music and life are evident throughout this book. Musician! will be a valuable addition to your library - an entertaining reference book for musicians and civilians alike.


Mr. Wilensky offers private lessons in saxophone, flute, piano, theory and composition. All ages and levels are welcome; over 30 years of experience; local references available. Learn how to read, improvise, compose and play all styles of music. Mr. Wilensky also offers music therapy for mentally and/or physically challenged students, conducts clinics and master classes worldwide, and frequently performs at schools and libraries. CONTACT for more information.

I take lessons from various professionals, but Dan, coming from New York, brings the perspective that you don't get in Portland. He is great at finding out what you're good at and more important, what you to need to work on.

-- Max Roark

"Dan teaches so much more than notes and technique... he teaches music."

-- Jordan Wason

"Dan has been a terrific piano teacher for my beginner 4 and 6 year olds. He's kept the hour sessions interesting and engaging for my sons. I cannot believe how far they have come in such a short period! My oldest is reading music, excited to perform his songs for family and friends, and very happy to practice, all because Dan is such a great teacher. Dan is always on time (even when we're not) and dependable, and he's very creative in the ways he keeps the sessions fun for the kids. I know many parents in our town would say the same about him, many of whom have been sending their kids to Dan for years. Dan's been a force in town not only for giving kids a love and talent for music but also volunteering his time to give kids the chance to perform."

-- Sarah Kroon Chiles

"Great lesson yesterday! I'm feeling so great about how much I'm learning and how much fun it is having you as my teacher/mentor/inspiration/cheerleader along this fabulous journey . . . YOU ARE THE BEST!"

-- Kim Christman

My son has been working with Dan for over six years. From their first encounter, they have had a special bond. Dan has created a unique music therapy program for my son, who has special needs. Music plays a major role in my son's life, and we are very grateful to Dan for all the musical experiences and opportunities he provides each week. He understands my son's special love for music and as he teaches, he patiently and creatively encourages my son to explore, create, and enjoy all types of music.

-- Mary Jane Waller

"I'm certain that my eagerness to get to my next lesson each week is because of Dan's ability as a nurturing teacher."

-- Dr. Richard Cohen

"Thank you Mr. Dan! We had so much fun dancing, singing, and playing music with you! Hooray for Mr. Dan the Music Man! We hope you come back to visit soon.

-- Love, the children and staff at ABSeas

Dan plays soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and C-melody saxophones, flute, alto flute, piano, and keyboards.
Also contact Dan to book for house concerts, master classes, private lessons, world-class horn sections and arrangements.