Dickerson, Carroll

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Dickerson, Carroll

Dickerson, Carroll, jazz violinist, and noted band leader; b. 1895; d. Chicago, 111., Oct. 1957. There is little information on his early family life or training. He was only a mediocre violinist, but a talented bandleader. He led bands in Chicago from 1920, working at Entertainers7 Cafe (1921), and then a long residency at Sunset Cafe (1922–24). In late 1924, he formed a new band for a 48-week tour on Pantages Circuit (after touring with Dickerson, most of the band personnel then worked as Lottie Hightower’s Nighthawks). Dickerson returned to Chicago; in April of 1926 he reformed own band for Sunset Cafe residency, which featured Louis Armstrong until February 1927. Subsequently, he led the group at the Savoy Dance Hall (1927–29; with Armstrong from March 1928). Among the musicians who worked for him were Johnny Dunn, Tommy Ladnier, Zutty Singleton, Buster Bailey, Earl Hines, and Jimmy Mundy. Armstrong drew on some of these players for his Hot Five recordings in 1928. The band left Chicago in spring of 1929 with Armstrong. After gigging in N.Y. under Louis Armstrong’s name, with Dickerson as conductor, the band began residency at Harlem’s Connie’s Inn (without Armstrong) until spring of 1930, when they disbanded. Dickerson remained in N.Y. and worked briefly with the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, then toured with King Oliver. He returned to Chicago in the early 1930s and resumed leading his own band. After a residency at Chicago’s Swingland club in 1937, he temporarily left full-time music, but made a comeback early in 1939 and continued leading own bands during the 1940s, including a long residency at the Rhumboogie club. Dickerson’s band style probably influenced Armstrong’s recording “Beau Koo Jack” (1928; its arranger, Alex Hill, also worked for Dickerson).


Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1929).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter