Bass, b.1945 d.1986, East London, South Africa
Johnny Mbizo Dyani was a South African jazz double bassist and pianist who played with such musicians as Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, David Murray and Leo Smith. He was born and grew up in Duncan Village, a township of the South African city of East London.
In the early 1960s he was a member of South Africa’s first integrated jazz band The Blue Notes, with Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Dudu Pukwana on alto saxophone, Nikele Moyake on tenor saxophone, Chris McGregor on piano, and Louis Moholo on drums. The band fled South Africa in 1964 to seek musical and political freedom.
“We were rebels and we were trying to run away from this apartheid thing. We rebelled against the apartheid regime that whites and blacks couldn’t play together. We stood up,” said Louis Moholo.
In 1966, Dyani toured Argentina with Steve Lacy’s quartet. Lacy, Dyani and Moholo recorded “The Forest and the Zoo” (ESP).
He later moved to Denmark and Sweden, recording many albums under his own name, often on the Steeplechase label. He recorded with Dollar Brand, Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, David Murray, Joseph Jarman, Clifford Jarvis, Don Moye, Han Bennink, Brotherhood of Breath, Mal Waldron and many others.
After his death the remaining members of The Blue Notes reunited to record a moving tribute album Blue Notes For Johnny on the label Ogun Records.
In a memorial (PDF) published in the South African magazine Rixaka, Pallo Jordan writes, “above all, his music resounded with a joy in life.”
Bass, b.1916 d.1977, New York, NY
Bennie Moten was a noted American jazz pianist and band leader. In 1929 he recruited Count Basie for his band Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra, eventually allowing Basie to take over on piano.
After Moten’s death in 1935, Basie took many of the leading musicians from his band to form his own orchestra.
Trombone, b.1949, Takoma Park, Maryland
Bill Reichenbach Jr. is a jazz trombonist and composer. He is the son of Bill Reichenbach who was the drummer for Charlie Byrd from 1962 to 1973. He is best known as a musician for television, films, cartoons, and commercials.
He began in high school playing for various bands in the Washington, D. C. area. He also sat in with his father’s group where he played with Milt Jackson, Zoot Sims, and other. He went on to study at the Eastman School of Music and on graduating joined the “Buddy Rich band.” He would also work for a time in Toshiko Akiyoshi’s big band before moving to Los Angeles, California. After that move he became known for music for television and film.
His first TV or film project of interest might be playing trombone on Michael Jackson’s Thriller (music video). He also acted as a composer for Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.
Trumpet, b.1931, Jacksonville, FL
Jack Sheldon is an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and actor.
Sheldon was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He originally became known through his participation in the West Coast jazz movement of the 1950s, performing and recording with such figures as Art Pepper, Gerry Mulligan and Curtis Counce.
In the 1960s Sheldon starred in his own TV series, Run Buddy Run, and led the band on the Merv Griffin TV show. He also made numerous appearances on the 1967-70 version of the Jack Webb television series Dragnet.
His voice is perhaps best known from the popular Schoolhouse Rock cartoons of the early 1970s, such as “Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just A Bill.” Sheldon also appeared in a documentary film about the life of fellow jazz trumpeter Chet Baker called Let’s Get Lost.
As of 2006, Sheldon is still active and performing.
Sheldon also guest voiced on The Simpsons episode “The day the violence died” as a parody of I’m Just a Bill from Schoolhouse Rock. In this he is just an “amendment to be.” He has also appeared on Ellen. For more info go to http://www.jacksheldon.com/
Alto Sax, b.1948, London, England