Darryl Brenzel began his musical training with piano lessons at age eight and began the saxophone a year later. While in high school he was able to study with jazz saxophone legend Sonny Rollins. After graduating from high school Brenzel entered the Marine Corps and attended the Armed Forces School of Music in 1980 and was later assigned to the band at Quantico, Virginia. He remained there through 1983, becoming involved in the local music scene as well as performing his military duties. Upon leaving the Marines Brenzel moved to Boston and attended Berklee College of Music.