Bob Hanisch (Piano)
Bob hails originally from Wisconsin, where he started piano lessons at age 6 and took up jazz at age 15. He attended Lawrence University, whose LUJE (Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble) has over the years won numerous awards from Downbeat magazine. He studied jazz piano with John Harmon as well as classical piano at the Lawrence Conservatory, and had the pleasure of performing in the LUJE with Fred Sturm. Fred later became the director of the jazz program at Lawrence and composed and arranged many pieces for big band.
Bob’s primary career has been in astronomy. After getting his PhD at the University of Maryland--College Park, he spent three years in The Netherlands as a post-doc. He worked for 30 years at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the organization that operates the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. He helped to build the Hubble data archive, assuring access to the spectacular images from Hubble for the research community, students, educators, and the general public. In 2014 he moved to the National Institute of Standards and Technology where he leads activities in data management and analysis.
Piano is a treasured avocation, including playing jazz with a colleague from the National Institutes of Health and supporting amateur theater musical productions (including Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Urinetown, Weird Romance, A Musical of Musicals, The Follies, The Fantasticks, and Beauty and the Beast) as a rehearsal pianist and pit orchestra member (the “glue” that holds the orchestra together). Bob met OBB tenor saxophonist John Gottdiener at the Tritone Jazz Camp in Wisconsin, in the summer of 2018, so you can blame John for bringing me to the OBB!
Herb Nachmann (Bass)
After his start with the string bass in junior high school, Eric became an integral member of the New Orleans jazz scene throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, and earned New Orleans Magazine’s “Traditional Jazz Bassist of the Year” award in 1997. He worked regularly with many jazz luminaries including Pete Fountain and Al Hirt, and was a member of the Dukes of Dixieland.
Eric also helped put WWOZ – the New Orleans music radio station – on the air; and developed, produced, and performed in jazz history presentations at public schools throughout southeast Louisiana. He now performs regularly in the Washington DC area in big bands, small group jazz ensembles, and bluegrass and blues bands.
Dennis Coleman - (Guitar)
Originally from Manhattan, Dennis attended George Washington University, where he first started learning guitar with Frank Mullen, an excellent local instructor (Dennis confesses that he often spent more time on his lessons than he did on studying).
After graduating and studying jazz guitar, Dennis joined Bill Potts' big band at Montgomery College and later received an A A. degree in Music from there. He went on to study classical guitar and was the first recipient of a Master’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance from Catholic University. While finishing that degree, he went back to Montgomery College as the instructor for their classical guitar program.
Although family responsibilities required a career change as well as packing up his guitar for some years, Dennis’s children are now launched, and he is so glad to be once again enjoying music and playing with the band!
After playing drums in middle school, Ralph studied percussion at the University of North Texas. Over the years, he has performed with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Helios Jazz Orchestra, Tampa's Late Night Brass, The Difficult Run Jazz Band, Dan McMillion's Jazz Orchestra and legendary jazz singer Mark Murphy.
In addition to playing drums with the Olney Big Band, Ralph plays the vibraphone with the Bob Schwartz Quartet. He has also been the house drummer for the last eight years for the annual Empower Music and Arts Posi-Awards show in Tampa.
Ralph lives in Silver Spring with his wife Linda and dog Godiva.