Jack Sheldon, a superb trumpeter, soulful vocalist and multi-talented entertainer, started playing professionally at age 13. He moved to Los Angeles in 1947, joined the Air Force and played in military bands. After his discharge, Sheldon played an integral part in the West Coast Scene of the 1950s, helping to develop that era’s definitive bebop-inspired music. Along with Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie and Zoot Sims, Sheldon is considered one of the “Original Lions” of the West Coast Sound. A superlative improviser with a rare, signature sound, Sheldon has collaborated with the greats of jazz and popular music: Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Curtis Counce, Harold Land, Shelly Manne, Art Pepper, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown, Marty Paich, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, Diane Schuur and many others.
Five-time recipient of the prestigious “Playboy International Artist of the Year Award,” Sheldon continues to dazzle audiences with his prodigious chops and unerring sense of swing at live performances throughout the year, most often on the West Coast with his big band, “The Jack Sheldon Orchestra” or his group, “The Jack Sheldon California Cool Quartet.” A true trumpet virtuoso, Sheldon’s lyrical trumpet continues to garner the spotlight on television and motion picture soundtracks. It was his sensuous trumpet solo that immortalized Johnny Mandel’s “The Shadow of Your Smile” from the 1965 film, “The Sandpiper,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Sheldon is also a wonderful and expressive vocalist. His rich, soulful vocals have been featured in many television and motion picture soundtracks including “Speechless,” “Stuart Saves His Family,” and “Bogus.” He also has numerous jazz vocal recordings to his credit, including two distinctive duets with the great Rosemary Clooney, on two Concord releases.
In 1991, Sheldon debuted his 18-piece jazz big band, “The Jack Sheldon Orchestra,” and has made three landmark recordings with this powerhouse out?t on the Butterfly Records label: “Jack Sheldon Sings,” “Jack is Back!” and “JSO Live! On the Pacifc Ocean.” The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed, “Sheldon leads the roaring, deep-throated beast through its boss repertoire.” In 2004, Sheldon also released two terrific recordings, “California Cool” and “Freaky Friday,” both on Butterfly Records.
Sheldon is also renowned for his work as an actor in numerous television shows and films, including his own sit-com, “Run Buddy Run,” and 18 years as featured soloist, comedian and vocalist on “The Merv Griffin Show.” Memorable roles include “Des Long” in the television show “Mike Hammer-Private Eye,” “Wally” the bandleader in “For the Boys,” “Norman” in “Lush Life,” a cameo in the opening of “The Radioland Murders,” and “Whitebeard” in “Dear God.” Sheldon’s distinctive voice-over work has been heard consistently over the years in commercials, films and animated television shows including “The Simpsons,” “The Family Guy,” and “Johnny Bravo.” His most acclaimed voice-over work is his singing of “Conjunction Junction” and “Just a Bill” on ABC’s beloved classic, the “Schoolhouse Rock” series. “The Voice of Schoolhouse Rock,” Sheldon’s delightful singing made both of these tunes cult classics.