Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Dyson, Willard, drummer; b. Berkeley, CA, 22 July 1962. He has been playing percussion since the 5th grade when he received his first drum set. He also sang in his church choir throughout junior and senior high school and received a scholarship to participate in the Young Musicians Program at the University of California at Berkeley.
He received a B.A. in Percussion Performance from California State Hayward University and a M.M. in Jazz and Commercial Music from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he moved in 1986. He was worked with Regina Belle, with whom he toured in the United States, Japan and Europe as well as appearing on the Tonight Show, Soul Train, The Arsenio Hall Show, Good Morning America and BET. He has performed at the New Zealand, JVC, Playboy and Essence Music festivals. He has also worked with Grady Tate, Jimmy Scott, The New York Voices, Dakota Staton and Cassandra Wilson. Toured US and Europe with Charlie Hunter's group Pound for Pound in 98 (which recorded one title on the CD Blue Note Salutes Motown).
He is also very active in the local jazz clubs in New York City, and plays in various Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.