Bluesy Jazz Guitar
Dan Papaila is a San Diego based jazz guitarist whose roots are firmly planted in the blues. Dan honed his bluesy style playing with the likes of R&B legends Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Big Joe Turner, Plas Johnson, and Johnny “Hammond” Smith.
“Dan’s early memories include watching his uncle perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Wheeling, West Virginia. Born in New Kensington, PA, Dan moved to Omaha in 1959 with his mother and sister. At age 16 he was given $60 by his mother to acquire a guitar from a local pawn shop. Within two years he was working in local pop groups. It was around 1970 that Dan familiarized himself with the work of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and George Benson. He also became close friends with another guitarist from Omaha, Billy Rogers; they studied and practiced together for several years before Rogers’ untimely death in 1987. His Los Angeles years found Dan working the lounge circuit with various trios. “Nearly all the clubs on the South side of Wilshire Boulevard had Hammond B-3 organs,” he recalls. “I played lots of R&B with Billy Larkin, Cleanhead Vinson and Big Joe Turner.” In 1976 Dan began what would become a definitive association: he started working with the organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith. The Hammond Smith years found Dan playing the “Chitlin Circuit”. Later, Dan traveled to Las Vegas in 1981 and played the Nevada circuit for a couple of years. Then it was back to the blues, co-leading an R&B fusion group with Tower Of Power keyboardist Roger Smith in Sacramento before the move to San Diego. Since then he has enjoyed success locally and on the jazz festival circuit.” ..Leonard Feather
Dan’s recordings have received critical praise and international attention. “Positively!” reached #11 on national radio and was named “Best Jazz Album” at the San Diego Music Awards. Dan’s televised performance at the awards ceremony has aired regularly on BET, the cable jazz network. “Full Circle” spent 10 weeks on the national charts and was nominated “Best Jazz/Blues Album” at the San Diego Music Awards – Dan’s fifth nomination.
A few of the great artists that Dan has performed with:
BIG JOE TURNER, PERCY MAYFIELD, EDDIE “CLEANHEAD” VINSON, LOWELL FULSOM, BIG MAMA THORTON, DR. LONNIE SMITH, BILLY LARKIN, CLIFFORD SCOTT, HANK CRAWFORD, PLAS JOHNSON, JOHNNY HAMMOND SMITH, BLUE MITCHELL, FRANK BUTLER, BILLY MITCHELL, SHERMAN FERGUSON, MAT MARUCCI, JOHN BOLIVAR, JOHN HEARTSMAN, JEFF CLAYTON, GEORGE CABLES, FRANK MORGAN, DIANE SCHUUR, RANDY CRAWFORD, JACK WILSON, JIMMY SMITH, RICHARD REID, LOUIE SPEARS, HERBIE HANCOCK, RICKEY WOODARD, DAVID BENOIT, SHEILA “E”, TONY DUMAS, EDDIE HARRIS, BILLY DANIELS, FRANKIE LAINE, ROGER SMITH, RONNIE FOSTER, ANDY SIMPKINS, LARANCE MARABLE, MIKE WOFFORD, HOLLY HOFMANN, BILL HEID, & TONY MONACO