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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever heard, or heard of, an alto sax player called Bugs Dyer? I have heard him only once, as a sideman on a great Illinois Jacquet and Howard McGhee album called Here Comes Freddy, but I can't find out anything else about him or what other recordings he has made, if any. Whilst very Charlie Parker-esque, he very much has his own approach and is incredibly fluent. Plays a great, great solo on Yardbird Suite. Thanks!
 

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Wilbert "Bugs" Dyer was one of the greatest alto saxophonists in jazz history. I knew him very well, as a friend, teacher, and husband to his lovely wife Melvina back in the 1970's. I met Bugs at a place called Project Create, which was a music workshop in New York, at 111th Street and Lenox Avenue, started by Herbie Hancock and led by drummer Walter Bolden and pianist Harold Mabern. Bugs was one of the workshop leaders and wrote most of the charts for big band and octet ensembles. At the time, he was gigging periodically with George Coleman, Harold Mabern, and others, often appearing on the mobile stages of Jazzmobile in Harlem and throughout NYC, something Dr. Billy Taylor had started. He did record with Howard McGhee and also appears on an album titled "Walt Bolden'" on Nemperor Records JZ35569, along with Mabern, Virgil Jones, Roland Prince, Gene Taylor, Coleman, Danny Moore, Mario Rivera, and Arthur Jenkins. It contains several original compositions by Bugs credited to his wife Mel, including "Just for You" and "When Spring Comes Again." Bugs unfortunately spent many years of his short life (he was 44 when he passed) in the Lexington, KY penitentiary, where he played with the famous jailhouse bands that included Tadd Dameron. I feel so fortunate that I got to know Bugs and was privileged to play his arrangements and compositions in the Project Create Big Band. He was a giving person who had a really hard life, having lost one lung, done far too much prison time, and struggled to make a decent living. I often think about him, and Harold Mabern, still playing phenomenal music all these years later, also remembers him well. He was an unforgettable musician and person!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, andykaslow, thank you for solving that mystery for me. I had actually given up hope of ever discovering more about such a great musician (and, as I now know, great human being). I will look for the other album he is on that you mentioned. How sad that he went through all that and died young.
 
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