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Odd Stordahl
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 songs.

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 of hits.

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

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7:39:15 PM, 29 May 2016
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