Dickerson, Walt(er Roland)

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Dickerson, Walt(er Roland)

Dickerson, Walt(er Roland), jazz vibraphonist;b. Philadelphia, Pa., April 16, 1928. He was raised in a musical family. He graduated from Morgan State Coll. in Baltimore. He performed around Philadelphia with Jimmy Heath and others, including a ballroom dance with Heath’s big band on May 16, 1947 in Millsboro, Del. After spending two years in the army, he sold real estate in Calif. In 1960 he moved to N.Y.C., where he worked and recorded with Andrew Hill, H. Grimes, andA. Cyrille. Between 1961 and 1965 he recorded four albums under his own name, including To My Queen, dedicated to his wife Elizabeth, whose picture graces the cover. A Down Beat “New Star” winner in 1962, Dickerson later teamed with Sun Ra on the 1965 record-875

ing Impressions of a Patch of Blue, based on an arrangement Dickerson had made for the music of a Jerry Goldsmith film of the same name. He developed a very individualistic sound, in part because he hardened his sticks with a special solution. He ceased playing abruptly in 1965. After a 10-year hiatus, Dickerson returned working mainly in Europe. In the 1990s, he has lived in Willow Grove, Pa., and though he receives very few offers to play, performs periodically in Philadelphia and gives solo concerts in Europe and Japan; his wife travels with him.


This Is Walt Dickerson! (1961); A Sense of Direction (1961); Relativity (1962); Jazz Impressions of “Lawrence of Arabia” (1963) To My Queen (1963); Unity (1964); Impressions of a Patch of Blue (1965); Peace (1975); Tell Us Only Beautiful Things (1975); Serendipity (1976); Tenderness (1977); Divine Gemini (1977); To My Queen Revisited (1978); Visions (1978); To My Son (1978); Shades of Love (1978); Landscape with Open Door (1978); I Hear You John (1978); Life Rays (1982). SUN R A: Visions (1978); P. Dorge: Open Door (1978).

—Lewis Porter