Arranger, Composer, Conductor, Music Director, Trumpeter
Axel Stordahl is inextricably linked by all of his biographers with Frank Sinatra’s initial success as a soloist. The
arranger understood the importance of tailoring a setting for a particular vocalist, and this he did in presenting Sinatra
the balladeer, providing lush string arrangements with woodwinds to highlight the romantic nature of Sinatra’s
When Sinatra left Tommy Dorsey in 1942, he took Stordahl with him to Columbia Records as his music director. Their
successes included songs such as “You’ll Never Know,” “Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the
Week,” “They Say It’s Wonderful,” and “Mam’selle.” In 1946 they recorded The
Voice, the first “concept album,” featuring eight ballads. It hit the Billboard charts at number one.
Stordahl also oversaw Sinatra’s radio and televisions shows over their ten-year association, which produced a string
Before joining Dorsey in 1935, Stordahl had played trumpet and was part of a vocal group associated with other bands, but
clearly his talent lay in arranging. When Dorsey split with his brother Jimmy and took over the Joe Haymes orchestra, he
hired Stordahl as his arranger. Their first big hit in 1935 was “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” which
became the band’s signature song.
Stordahl was also a composer of note, writing “I Should Care” (1945), “Day by Day” (1946), and
“Night after Night” (1949) with Paul Weston and Sammy Cahn, “Aint-‘tcha Ever Comin’
Back” (1947) with Weston and Irving Taylor, and “Meet Me at the Copa” (1950) with Cahn.
In 1951 Stordahl married former Pied Piper, June Hutton, and made several recordings with her for Capitol records. He
also worked with other singers: Dinah Shore, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin, to mention a few. In 1961 Sinatra and Stordahl
reunited for their final recording together, Point of No Return.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com