Composer/arranger/conductor Axel Stordahl is best known as Frank Sinatra's musical director during the first decade of the singer's solo career, and is often credited with helping to bring pop arranging into the modern age. A native of Staten Island, NY, he was born Odd Stordahl to parents of Norwegian descent on August 8, 1913. He took up the trumpet as a youth, and played in several dance bands around Long Island and the Catskills during the late '20s and early '30s. He also began arranging around this time, and in 1933 he joined Bert Bloch's orchestra in both capacities. Over the next couple of years, Stordahl sang on the side in a vocal trio dubbed the Three Esquires with bandmates Jack Leonard and Joe Bauer. Around 1935 or 1936, Tommy Dorsey hired all three men, and Stordahl joined as third trumpet player and part-time arranger. It soon became apparent that arranging was far and away his greatest strength, and he made it his full-time vocation, becoming Dorsey's lead arranger in short order.