Vic Dickenson

po_Dickenson-VicVic (Victor) Dickenson (August 6, 1906 – November 16, 1984) was an African-American jazz trombonist.

Dickenson’s career started out in the 1920s and led him through musical partnerships with such legends as Count Basie (1940–41), Sidney Bechet (1941) and Earl Hines . A soloist of wide acclaim, Vic Dickenson was known for the distinctive sound he coaxed out of the trombone.

He studied Organ from 1922 but changed to Trombone with local bands. Vic made his recording debut in December 1930, as a vocalist with Luis Russell’s band. He later joined Blanche Calloway’s Orchestra in the early 1930s. Led his own groups both in east & west coast between 1947 to mid fifties. From then he was a session man for many legendary dates, among them CBS Sound Of Jazz 1957 with many great jazz musicians including: Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Gerry Mulligan, Billie Holiday.

He was a favorite of many musicians, in large part because of the melodic sound he got from his horn, and for a keen sense of humor which was often evident in his playing.

Dickenson recorded several albums, many of which are still in print. But if you’re looking for more, listen to these recordings under the name of other jazz musicians with Vic as a sideman: Jimmy Rushing (Vanguard Rec.), Coleman Hawkins (Capitol Rec.), Pee Wee Russell (Black Lion Rec.), Benny Carter (BlueBird & Black & Blue Rec.), Lester Young (Blue Note & Verve Rec.), Count Basie (Columbia & Pablo Rec.), Sidney Bechet (BlueBird, Black & Blue & Blue Note Rec.) In 1953, he recorded ‘The Vic Dickenson Showcase’ for Vanguard. The front line included Ed Hall (clarinet) and Ruby Braff (Trumpet). This album is thought by many as one of the finest examples of mainstream jazz ever recorded.

At one time he was a member of “The World’s Greatest Jazz Band,” which was the house band at The Roosevelt Grill in NYC. He also performed at the same venue in a smaller group that featured Dickenson with trumpeter Bobby Hackett.

Dickenson is in Art Kane’s photograph, A Great Day in Harlem… which also includes (another trombonist) Miff Mole.

Dickenson, for all his lively musical talent, was a laconic man who often liked to be alone between sets. During his longtime association with bands playing at Eddie Condon’s, he would often retire to a single chair which sat in a small alcove just outside the men’s room, instead of gathering with fellow musicians in the band room. When men mistook him for the men’s room attendant and offered him dollars, he took them.