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Walt Dickerson

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Primary Instrument: Vibraphone

Born: April 16, 1928 | Died: May 15, 2008

Dickerson made a fairly 'big splash' when his first recordings appeared in the early 60s (Down Beat Critics Poll “New Star”, 1962), but he's remained an enigmatic figure ever since. His early sides demonstrated a sure grasp of the Hampton/Jackson continuum in blazing through standards, but his original compositions on those dates reflected a spiritual, even mystical flavor that was expanded on in recordings into the early 80s.

Dickerson's distinctive melodic and rhythmic approach is complemented by his unique timbre on what is often a cold-sounding and unwieldly instrument - his use of rubber mallets specially-treated to produce a plush and very warm yet crisp sound, immediately recognizable. Of all his recordings, most are in the trio format, none larger than a quintet (with two drummers!), and no horn players appear. There is an underlying current of turbulence yet an overall air of serenity to his work....
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