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Walt Dickerson

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I wish someone would release his "Unity" and "Jazz Impressions of Lawrence of Arabia" on CD. A board member was kind enough to burn a CD for me from the original vinyl, and these two dates are very good, very much in the same vein as "Impressions of a Patch of Blue."

Well, somebody has just reissued these two on vinyl, and there appears to be a Fresh Sounds CD to be released March 7. CD Universe

Walt Dickerson Quartet -- Vibes In Motion (Jazz Impressions Of Lawrence Of Arabia/Plays Unity) . . . CD . . . $12.99

Audio Fidelity/Fresh Sound (Spain)

This will be very welcome news to many here , so I thought I would revive this thread to give it greater visibility .

Fresh Sounds is using this late 60's reissue cover for their new digipack :

DickersonMotion.jpg

in place of the two original covers:

DickersonLawrence.jpgDickersonUnity1.jpg

As an added bonus , with this new release we now have , I believe , all of Austin Crowe's jazz output available :)

Here is the link to the Fresh Sounds blurb

Many of you will be familiar with the interview that board member Dmitry did with Walt in October 2001 . It's no longer archived at webzine One Final Note where it first appeared , but here is a link to it :Walt Dickerson Interview

It's really a must-read .

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Thanks for the news! I have to admit, when I saw that this thread had been revived, I was REALLY hoping that Walt Dickerson had been booked to perform again.

Would you mind copy/pasting the interview here. I don't think Dmitry even has a copy anymore. For whatever reason, I can't get the page to load.

Thanks again!

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Cool! Thanks for finding this. I lost track of this interview! :tup

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Just finished reading the interview (it took some time to load!). Very well done, Dmitry - an interesting man!

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I cannot get it to load. My connection keeps timing out.

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My connection timed out as well.

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Hmm, I was able to see it this morning. I should save it, anyway.

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the web.archive.org server seems very busy, it took quite some minutes for this to pop up:

Walt Dickerson : The OFN Interview

by Dmitry Zhukov

Walt Dickerson is an enigma. His LPs are desired by collectors, his music is universally praised by fans. He hasn’t released a record in twenty years, reviews of his concerts do not appear in jazz publications or on the internet bulletin boards, he did not become a professor, retire or otherwise give up. Where is he, then? He is HERE. Read on.

On the way here I was listening to one of your CDs that was recently reissued in Japan, Walt Dickerson 1976, on the WhyNot label.

I see. WhyNot was a big label in Japan, the equivalent of Columbia here.

I was lucky to buy this disc, the only time I saw it was in Los Angeles this summer, and I haven’t seen it since. They surely sent you some copies.

No…no. WhyNot? I did two things for WhyNot and also one for the Soul Note. Who’s on this one?

Jamaaladeen Tacuma is on it and Leon Bateman. And Wilbur Ware on one track.

Yes, Wilbur Ware, a great bass player.

They haven’t sent you a copy? I’m surprised. Soul Note, yes, the Life Rays disc. Sirone and Andrew Cyrille are on it [This 1982 session is the last Walt Dickerson record to be released…so far]. Yesterday night I was listening to one of your records with Richard Davis, a beautiful duet record.

Divine Gemini, it was for my wife’s mother. She was like a mother to me. She treated me like I was her son. It is rare when you meet a young lady and her mother treats you like you’re her son. I never referred to her as my mother-in-law, she was always mom to me, and my wife’s father was an exceptional man, before we were married he reminded my wife as to my true calling, what I was really about. He was the man who really loved music, Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday were his favorites, so he reminded my wife that I was first and foremost a musician. He was a very wise man, so I was fortunate to meet a young lady and in the process gain a father and a mother.

Your kids also became musicians?

No, none of them. My son could’ve very easily become a musician, he had a lot of raw natural talent, played tuba, trumpet and bass, everything was too easy for him, he was a natural, he could’ve played anything he wanted to play. He had the dexterity of both hands on the bass, but he didn’t want it, no. He would always say, ”I just want them to treat my father right.”

How did you start on the vibes? It’s such an uncommon instrument.

It was a natural progression for me. Music was always all around me. My mother played a piano, my oldest brother was a concert violinist, my next brother was a concert pianist and tenor. He won numerous awards, all in the classical vein, so that’s all I heard coming up, various arias, operas, Puccini, Scarlatti, Brahms, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Ravel, I was introduced to them all very early in life, before I knew what I was listening to, so I grew up on both the music from the church and classical music. In junior high school I picked up saxophone, as a matter of fact this was my first instrument, and then clarinet, and then drums in senior high school, and then vibes. I was experimenting with various instruments until I landed on the vibes and that was my senior year in high school, and that’s the instrument I fell in love with. That was the beginning.

When did you decide you wanted to become a professional musician? There must have been so many things you could’ve done. Why not classical music?

I was really leaning towards philosophy as a major. Philosophy came very easy for me. I had a knack and love for it. That became my second major. Early on I was going to teach it, get my doctorate and teach, but I found myself spending more hours playing, and every weekend I went to a club to perform, while still going to school. I played with various combinations and offers came and I became more deeply involved in the music, so I was leaning away from going into the teaching profession rather than performing, so that’s basically what happened. I found myself performing more and more till it became THE thing that I wanted to do the most.

At that time, being in Philadelphia, you met many musicians, people who would become famous, influential…Coltrane, many others.

Well, John and I, we played in a big band together, the Jimmy Heath Big Band. It was a fantastic band, with the likes of Benny Golson; as a matter of fact when I was in high school he used to come and get permission from my parents so that I could make the gigs. Nelson Boyd was on bass, fantastic bassist, Bird wrote a tune for him called "Half Nelson." Specs Wright was in the band. That’s where I first met John, in the big band. We always had good relationship conversing idea-wise, we found certain mutual interests, we were leaning similar ways musically, which was a deviation at the time. Later, in the sixties he would come to the Five Spot where I was performing, and he was playing around the corner, so he and Eric [Dolphy] would come, because when we were on, they were off. I loved John and I loved his music, he became very spiritual, you could hear that in his music. My spirituality…I was really groping to find the base spiritually, I couldn’t find my niche, I was uncomfortable, I heard this, I heard that, but I was uncomfortable, I was still probing, doing my homework and you could hear that in my music.

What about Ornette Coleman, in the early sixties you played the same clubs.

I became familiar with Ornette earlier, on the West Coast. When we first got married, we took a honeymoon there for two years, we drove cross country and stayed there, away from everybody so that we could get to know each other, my wife and I. It was a beautiful experience. We wound up in LA, as a matter of fact we opened a club there, called The House of Vibes, where musicians could come, and they all came through the club, Charles Lloyd, Ornette, many and all of them, Nancy Wilson, Cannonball [Adderley]. It was the meeting place. We had that club for two years, and then for recording purposes I moved to New York. In the process we came through Indianapolis and met the Montgomery brothers and Freddie [Hubbard]. As a matter of fact I told Freddie to come to New York, likewise some people from LA followed us here.

You were a couple of years older that Lee Morgan, another Philly musician that you knew personally, no doubt. Such an unfortunate story.

Yes, I knew him well, and Hank Mobley, another unfortunate story. Drugs. You see, that’s why I wasn’t one of the boys. If you didn’t indulge, you weren’t part of the circle. I was outside of it, I was the guy that…I wasn’t cool.

A lot of people were doing it then…

Most. You were IN if you were a part of that, if you weren’t a part of that you were viewed as rather strange. So I was rather strange, respected, but strange. I’m happy today because of the self-discipline I displayed at the time, I wasn’t one of the guys, but happily so.

It took some sense to stand up to that, because of people all around and temptation was probably severe?

There was a recording company that…if you didn’t [do drugs], you didn’t record. It shall remain nameless.

So many people passed away or finished their lives in obscurity because of that…many musicians, and also people who listened to the music too, the fans.

There were individuals who wanted to play so much like Bird, that they would sponsor a party where they would procure the drugs, invite Bird and in the process there would be Bird’s blood in the syringe, so they would inject his blood into their veins. My thinking was that the music was from the Source, and connecting to that Source was the key to how you would project the music as opposed to shooting up. I would see individuals nodding, falling off while playing. So I thought that’s not what the creative process was about, and I said to myself, "No, something is wrong here, I’m not going to travel that route.” I saw the damage it did and I knew that I would have no part of that, so I became Walt the Outsider. I had wonderful conversations with those individuals, and they would say, "I’d love to be like you, man. I don’t have…I just can’t do it, Walt.”

I would say, "Sure you can do it. It’s about you, it’s not about that”. So I would let them know it was them and not drugs making the music. Actually, they were much more creative if drugs weren’t involved. They would say, "Yes, I know I did it, but I’m into it now.” Then I would say, "Same person can pull you out of it.” I never put the blame elsewhere, but sometimes they would, see, but I wouldn’t allow them to, I would make them reconcile with themselves. I said, "You don’t need it, you can do it, it’s all about you, it’s not about the drugs.” They’d say, "Boy, you’re strong, man!” I wasn’t stronger than they were, I just made a decision that I didn’t need it, I used to say, "I love me too much to do that to me.” They would agree, say they loved themselves too and then they would say, "I see you, I have to go now.” I did what I could do, but it didn’t matter. I was under the same pressure they were, I was trying to raise the family, I needed the money, but I couldn’t get a record date every other week, like them. See, that’s why certain companies had so many recordings, oh, just pumping them out because in the studio would be for them only a bowl off in the back with the goodies in it.

That’s not a widely publicized fact…

Of course not! A bowl…all day, run them, run them, pumping them out. If you weren’t in it, you didn’t bring anything to the table, they’d rather replace you with someone who was doing it too, and would bring something to the table. In other words when they all got paid, it was party time, the man would be right there on the premises.

What’s your opinion on race relations in jazz music?

On my first album I had a white bassist, Bob Lewis, on some albums I did for SteepleChase I had Andy McKee. Strange, I never thought of it that way. If I heard a person and liked what they were doing, it’s all that mattered. It’s here [pointing to the heart], not here [pointing to the eyes]. It’s an auditory art, this has nothing to do with it, but strangely enough, the producer came to me and said, "You know, there’re a lot of black players, bassists, that would love to record with you and I personally think they’d do a better job.” And I asked, "Why do you say that?” He said, "White bassists don’t play with the rhythm that black bassists play with.” I said, "You realize that’s your opinion. I don’t deal in opinions. Your opinion means nothing to me, bring me a fact and I’ll entertain it. I only deal in facts and honesty. Opinions, assumptions, keep them to yourself. That’s not asking for too much.” He never approached me from this standpoint again. I tell you who I loved, Al Haig, the things he did with Bird. I thought a lot of the things that Bill Evans did were very great. Again, tragic.

Same things can be said about you and your instrument as are said about him. He influenced so many pianists…

He set the stage for many of those explorations of Miles. He laid it out, you couldn’t help, but dance to it. Certain things, certain cushions he laid, like clouds, and you can dance on those clouds that he laid out.

McKee was on To My Queen Revisited and To My Son and on I Hear You John, all SteepleChase records. Which one is your favorite from that label?

You should also get the Shades of Love, it’s a direct-cut record. I’m proud of that one.

I know, but I couldn’t find it anywhere [since then I found it and it is indeed a disc I’m proud to own and listen to often.] They added an alternate take of one of the compositions to it, that I know. I wish it was easy to find. Another direct-cut record I have is by one of your fellow Philadelphians, Marvin Hannibal Peterson. Excellent disc. Which brings my next question, why haven’t you recorded with any trumpeters or sax players? Was it a conscious choice or just they way it happened?

I had several offers to record with the individuals I highly respected, but the moneys were never what I thought they should’ve been. That was the reason I turned them down. There was the thing, "If you do this, some other good things will follow,” it was that type of hook that was always presented, that was the type of exploitation that was present in that particular time, so that’s the reason I didn’t do it at the time, with individuals that I would like to have recorded with.

Who, for example?

John...

It could’ve been an amazing record…

Most say that. He did record with Milt Jackson, but that wasn’t the pure John. He was holding back because of the surroundings. I found that to be an albatross sometimes one surrounds himself with other individuals. I found that out in Norway, sidemen were having a wonderful time there, so after about the fifth concert [we were doing them almost every night in different towns] they became physically drained, because they were busy partying after concerts, and I would go to a hotel with my wife, and she saw to it that I would rest, so we could get ready for the next town and the next concert. So I would be up, full of energy, I had my tablespoon full of honey, and I remember one night I was carrying the weight on my shoulders, and it was weighing down on me, I dropped out, and I let the pianist play, and then when I wanted to enter I had everybody drop out when I played. It was the most beautiful excursion of the entire trip. I remembered that it stood out, I was not weighed down, I could explore, I could go into areas that in all probability some of the others couldn’t follow me comfortably; you could always detect when your sideman isn’t comfortable where you go, and that has a restricting effect, 'cause you feel it too, and then you come back to the “familiar ground,” so as to put them all together again. So, during that solo excursion it was so unrestricted until it was like flying and moving about with ease, in and out of different situations, in and out of chordal progressions, uninhibited, so I began to introduce it again and again. So, the more I did it the more I realized I was liking it, solo. And I incorporated it more and more into the concerts, so when the time came for me to record, I did the whole album solo. The producer said, ”It has never been done, and you’re taking a formidable task, solo record and direct cut, we can’t have any retakes.” I never thought of retakes, because I always thought it was like concerts, I never perceived any difficulties, as such, so I put that direct-cut out of my mind, and treated it as if it were a solo concert, and I’ve done many of them, so I incorporated that mindset into the record. Two sets of vibes, and I came to really love the solo aspect of performing.

Speaking of your instrument, it sounds different from many other vibes players. Why?

Tonality, tonality, that’s what you’re referring to. That’s a conscious thing on my part, because I never really liked the harsh approach to the instrument, I wanted a certain plushness when a note was struck as opposed to a very percussive approach. I worked on that consciously, even adapting my mallets so I could arrive at that as close as possible. And I found that the approach, the adjustment of the mallets, the softness of the mallets allowed me to arrive near the plushness that I mentally sought. Those were the things that went into my approach to the instrument.

The mallets that I saw downstairs, they’re usually woolly and much longer than what you have.

I cut them down for a control factor. I don’t care to reach out and get groups of notes with multi-mallets, that’s not in my scheme of things. I’d rather get a cluster of notes with two mallets, which means very accurate speed and I formulate that cluster in such a manner where you think you’re hearing more than two mallets. My objective was to play and to be just as prolific with two mallets as a pianist with ten fingers. I think of Billie Holiday and the words to the song that she sings so magnificently, “The difficult I’ll do right now, the impossible will take a little while.” That always spurred me on, when someone else might say, "That’s impossible.” These are the areas I like to operate in, the areas considered impossible. People creatively fearless go into those areas, as opposed to staying on safe ground.

That is actually part of an answer to the question I was going to ask you. How did you arrive to the way you were going to play in the context of the music played in the late fifties and early sixties? Your albums for New Jazz are different from the styles and techniques of other vibe players who recorded at the time.

In many conversations we had with John Coltrane over the telephone we would share notes, ideas…

There was a pianist, a genius whose name was John Dennis, who had photographic memory, we were like inseparable brothers, we always shared notes. I think if there were any kinship to my approach it would be John and John, pianist and saxophonist. Of course I loved the master himself, Charlie Parker, so that’s where my head was, centered around these three individuals, communicating with them. John Dennis did one album with Max and Mingus. Everyone that came through Philly, they were fearful of him, he was just that awesome. After he did that album, he came back, we talked, he wasn’t thrilled with the scene at all, because he knew artistically he was far in advance of that which was going on. John Dennis was the kind of individual…picture this if you will - when he would hear a piano concerto, he’d talk with you while it was being played, and then he would play the entire concerto, nuance for nuance.

His record was on the Debut label that Max and Mingus ran. When they heard John, they had to record with him. There were those of us who came from parents who were, in today’s lingo, fundamentalists, in other words, the music that we played was not acceptable to them. It was considered devil’s music. Strange. These were the people who considered themselves devout, religious people, his mother and father both were clergy people, they both were ministers, and he couldn’t play the music at home. They had a piano in the living room, and he could play what they considered sacred music, and he played with the choir, it was wonderful, but he couldn’t play "Cherokee" at home. So he used to come over to my house, my parents were very religious also, my father was a deacon, my mother was a deaconess, but they were not fundamentalists, in other words, music was acceptable. My mother would inspire us to play. John would come over and play the music, and she would tell him how beautiful it was. At the time I had a set of drums and we would play a duo. My mother was the inspiration, the music was beautiful to her. Whenever John wasn’t home his mother always knew where he was, and she would call my mother and my mother would say, "Yes, John is here and I’m fixing dinner for them now.” “It’s all right, Mrs. Dickerson, as long as he is in your house.” So he continued to grow, playing the piano at our house. Later on he started doing singles in different places, different bars, and he fell out of favor with his mom and pop. You know, when you have parents like that, they can afflict the child, and they had him thinking that what he was doing was evil and that’s the kind of pressure he was under, and that caused us to search into religion even more so, and he could understand why I was very respectful of my elders, manners, yes madam, no madam, yes sir, no sir. John’s parents loved my manners, and they asked me periodically what kind of music I played. I learned a long time ago about honesty. I would say-

-The greatest music I know of…

-What kind is that?

-I think you call it jazz.

One time his mom asked me if my mother knew that I played that kind of music.

And I said, "You know, Mrs. Dennis, my mother is the most intelligent woman I know. She’s my first friend. And she says it’s all right, so it doesn’t matter what everybody else says, because she’s my friend.” She never approached me after that, concerning the music, but that’s because I spoke honestly. Of course John became weaker as we began to explore different areas, and then I went off to the university, and he succumbed under that constant pressure, so much that when I was ready to record I called John, and then came home to Philly to seek him out, and I found him in desperate physical condition. You see, it has a physical effect when an artist cannot continue to search and develop his artistry, something happens to that person both physically and mentally. There seems to be a conscious desire of wanting to go, to leave that level of existence, to be elsewhere, out of it. I’ve seen it happen too many times, and that’s what happened to my brother John Dennis. I learned that many people die from a broken heart, nothing wrong with them physically, they’re brokenhearted and just give up. They want to go, and when certain things happen to the artist, he falls into that mental framework, whereby he actually wills himself to go. And that’s what happened to John, and contrary to popular opinion, that’s what happened to John Coltrane, although there was a physical affliction that set in later, but you see, those who clambered and spoke of John in glowing terms came much later, when John was turning the most beautiful artistic corners, scaling the highest heights and going into unlimited forays, those musicians around him found him very unnerving. There was one individual who said to my wife when we came to a performance at a club…at the time John was with Miles and we had just gotten married, when we walked in the club John started playing "Here Comes The Bride," of course Miles was otherwise, "I hope you lock her up,” [imitates Miles Davis’ raspy voice], when we came back to the East Coast, and she said to one of the sidemen, "How is it going?”, he said, "Oh, my days are wonderful, but my nights are kind of weird,” as a matter of fact he was looking forward to going to the West Coast to join someone who played very hackneyed type of stuff, up top superficial, so that’s who John was surrounded by in his latter days. He was still reaching, but not understood by his sidemen. Remember, they left, one by one.

I remember when I was performing in Baltimore, and he was performing in Newark, I think, just the two of them, Rashied Ali and John, he called me and said, ”Walt, you know, I’m playing these things, and the audience, I don’t know, they hear what I’m doing, but the owner expresses dissatisfaction.” I was experiencing the opposite, place was packed to capacity every night, but I was doing a lot of solo work, heavy into that, some sets I would play just by myself and I would say to the sidemen, "I have this set,” but the audience was glued, they loved it. Maybe it was the instrument, I don’t know. So I said, ”John, you have to play you and I have to play me. We never prostituted our hearts, so we’re just that type of people, we play what we hear. I guess I’m really not concerned that much by the audience, but my wife is always in the audience, and she’s my barometer.” John said, ”That’s beautiful, Walt, but I don’t have that. I know, Liz is always there for you, but I don’t have that.” So the owner cut him short, he paid him, but he cut him short. That was heartbreaking for him. You’re giving it all, you know that artistically it’s beautiful. That can have a very disheartening effect on some people, and I’m sure that’s what happened to him after I talked to him that time.

Many people were affected by what was going through in his latter years, and then…some were making fun of him, they couldn’t do it, so they made fun. And then when a person dies, they’re the first ones to say how great he was. Come on! The hypocrites. At that time they became his friends, but before he died they were not…

So, if at the time you have a physical condition, it begins to feed on that negativity, on what’s going on musically, and it makes it worse. Whereas some of us have learned to express a desire from day to day on what that day is going to constitute, to bring happiness, good health, wealth; they realize they have the power and will it to be. Big difference! So, the things that don’t set YOU back will set back others, send them in a tail-spin. But it doesn’t happen to me, because I know I’m in control, so I turn the adversity around. Every day becomes a joyous occasion. I’m thankful and grateful, but not in the traditional sense…

Mr.Dickerson, you recorded with some marvelous people, all throughout your life, one of them is also out of the spotlight, he disappeared after your first albums. I’m talking about Austin Crowe.

Excellent pianist! Last I heard, Austin was in New York, playing classical music. Again, the scene, as it was then…Austin came from a very religious background also, so the scene did a lot to drive many great musicians away. He had a couple of things with Philly Joe Jones, and he came back and told me, "Never again, never again.” He was stranded in the Midwest, played two weeks of engagement and no way to get home. Some people can’t take those kinds of experiences, so I heard he was playing classical piano. I understood. He would say, "Any time you call me, I’ll be there.” As a matter of fact, years later, when he heard Shades Of Love, he told me, "I remember, Walt, how you used to turn your instrument in reverse and practice for hours.” It’s a challenge, something different. Yes, Austin, a wonderful pianist, a wonderful person… Some of the youngsters got turned away by the scene. It happened to my son, he saw his pop go through things which he thought were totally uncalled for, and even though my son was a natural on many instruments, he didn’t want anything to do with it.

You were one of the first few vibes players who played something other than what came before them. After you many others followed. Bobby Hutcherson is perhaps the most well-known player of the last three decades. When I hear his sixties records, his best work in my opinion, I hear a lot of things that you were playing, steps you took in uncharted waters. Then came the others, but I don’t see much acknowledgment of that. All you have to do is listen.

I’ve heard that it is quite a compliment when you hear yourself. Some say, “Pinching some of his music...” is a much more acceptable way of saying that someone has reached over into your repertoire. I’ve also heard it stated that nothing adventurous happens on vibes until I record. Then you hear some other things from some other people. It seems as though they wait to hear what’s next and on that note I’ll read something that came to me, and I put my pen to it. Here it is, "I desire that my music serves up enticing side dishes to many succulent entrees, bringing in history and a recipe or two, and for dessert disseminates wise guidance in usage, allusions, and other lexicographic matters for the enlightenment, health and enjoyment of ALL.” Signed, The Harbinger.

I think that this takes into account what we were just talking about. I know who I am, I know the role I played in the progression of the music, and I made sacrifices accordingly. That’s why every day for me is a halcyon day. See, I see it in the wholesome way, and when you can drink the wholesomeness it keeps your creative juices flowing. Many times when I go over to my instrument, things come, sometimes in a flurry, epiphany. And you become ecstatic that you become a vehicle for these outpourings, so regardless of what happens, it does not have a detrimental effect upon me, only the wholesome effect. That’s the only way I’ll allow it to enter into my domain, otherwise I’d suffer like so many others.

I apologize if that struck a nerve.

No, it doesn’t bother me when you speak of any of the fellows who play vibraphone, the reason being that I respect anyone who approaches this instrument, because of the amount of difficulty in mastering it. I respect those, all of them!

What did you do from mid-sixties to mid-seventies, when you didn’t record at all?

I performed in clubs, in colleges, universities, did seminars, enjoyed my life, my wife, my family.

The two Impressions albums, how did they come about? It’s a rather unusual concept in a way that they were not commercial albums of film music.

Well, both were telling a story, a story of the times, Patch of Blue was definitely telling the story, dealing with sensitivity, with the race issue, dealing with a handicap, all of which I could relate to. Lawrence… today would be right in step, wouldn’t it?! Same at the time of its release. I received complementary letters from both composers, which I found amusing, because they loved what I did, my impressions of their music. I could’ve followed through, if I were interested in commercial music, and did other things with movie scores, and I was invited to do so, but I didn’t. Those two scores were the ones I enjoyed. They were brought to me, so I had to find out the whole story first before being committed, but I enjoyed the challenge.

Did you write all the parts?

Always sketches, and hopefully they [the sidemen] have the artistry to fill in. A very fine bassist on Lawrence, Henry Grimes, he had a brother who played tenor sax very well.

Which people that came before you, aside from Bird, were an influence?

Big bands, I liked Dizzy’s band, Billy Eckstine’s big band I liked very much, a lot of great musicians came from that band. Those were the two big bands that captivated me a lot. Then there were show bands, Tiny Bradshaw, Erskine Hawkins, gee whiz, Chick Webb, I looked at them as show bands, Gene Krupa with Roy Eldridge, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, you could go and see them in a theater, but I was mostly affected by smaller combinations, Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy, Louis Jordan, the fun bands.

Did you watch Ken Burns' Jazz?

I only saw a short segment of it.

Do you listen to the music being played today?

Very seldom. Not consciously, but I felt that if there was something extraordinary, it would be brought to my attention, but since it hasn’t…I don’t yearn for listening.

Who do you listen to at home?

I’ll tell you what I will do occasionally, after I’m finishing practice at four o’clock in the morning, quiet, everybody’s asleep, that’s when it seems as though creativity abounds, in the early morning hours, it’s not stifled, it seems to flow, uninhibited, I found that to be, afterwards, when I’m ready to unwind, ‘cause I can’t just go to sleep, I will put on Bird or Bud, or Tatum, sometimes John, but purposely I don’t play John for another reason [taps his chest], I don’t like sadness sometimes when I hear certain tunes and compositions before going to sleep, but that’s about it. I might also put on Billie or Sarah [Vaughan], or Johnny Hartman. That’s about it.

[October 2001]

I’d like to express my gratitude to Mrs.Dickerson for accepting a stranger into her home and to Mr.Dickerson for being sincere. A gigantic thank you goes to Mr.Alan Lankin!

To contact Walt Dickerson about future concerts and festivals, please email him at edtreasures@aol.com or fax at 215.659.3429

source: http://web.archive.org/web/20030110092757/.../dickerson.html

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A mightily interesting (and rare) interview! Walt Dickerson seemed to have his head very together. Just as his music!

Congratulations Dmitry for getting this. And many thanks to couw for digging it out!

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Thanks for posting that article. I will pass it on to a local promoter who wants to book Walt.

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And many thanks to couw for digging it out!

Please direct your thanks to Chas!

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Thanks for posting that article. I will pass it on to a local promoter who wants to book Walt.

:excited::tup

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Fascinating interview. I wonder which record label the 'one which shall be nameless' was? Savoy? Prestige?

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And many thanks to couw for digging it out!

Please direct your thanks to Chas!

Absolutely! Many thanks to Chas for resurecting the interview. This is a major one :tup

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Wonderful interview with a thoughtful, intelligent, interesting man. Thanks to Dmitry for doing it, to Chas and couw for posting it, and especially to Walt Dickerson.

Edited by paul secor

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What an inspiration--and such an astute mind! It's nice to hear about all this from Walt's perspective--a living testament to integrity in a not-always-wholesome music.

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Fascinating interview. I wonder which record label the 'one which shall be nameless' was? Savoy? Prestige?

It couldn't have been Prestige, since he made several records for them. Could it have been Blue Note? :huh:

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Fascinating interview. I wonder which record label the 'one which shall be nameless' was? Savoy? Prestige?

It couldn't have been Prestige, since he made several records for them. Could it have been Blue Note? :huh:

Naw... Ornette recorded some cuts during the Blue Note heyday--and he was/is pretty clean, right? I doubt cats like Sam Rivers would still be appreciative of their BN legacies if the label were up to such unsavory dealings.

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Fascinating interview. I wonder which record label the 'one which shall be nameless' was? Savoy? Prestige?

It couldn't have been Prestige, since he made several records for them. Could it have been Blue Note? :huh:

Naw... Ornette recorded some cuts during the Blue Note heyday--and he was/is pretty clean, right? I doubt cats like Sam Rivers would still be appreciative of their BN legacies if the label were up to such unsavory dealings.

I assumed that he was talking about Blue Note, since he'd mentioned Lee and Hank previously. I could be wrong in my assumption.

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Fresh Sound recently reissued the two rare albums Walt Dickerson recorded for the Audio Fidelity records:

'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Unity' in a single digipack:

c4322.jpg

A superb release in excellent sound and packaging!

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I assumed that he was talking about Blue Note, since he'd mentioned Lee and Hank previously. I could be wrong in my assumption.

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