Vic Dickenson

Victor Dickenson (August 6, 1906 – November 16, 1984) was an American jazz trombonist.[1] His career began in the 1920s and continued through musical partnerships with Count Basie (1940–41), Sidney Bechet (1941), and Earl Hines.

Vic Dickenson
Birth nameVictor Dickenson
Born(1906-08-06)August 6, 1906
Xenia, Ohio, U.S.
DiedNovember 16, 1984(1984-11-16) (aged 78)
New York City
Years active1920s–1980s
Associated actsCount Basie, Sidney Bechet, Earl Hines

Life and careerEdit

Born in Xenia, Ohio, United States, in 1906,[1] Dickenson wanted to be a plasterer like his father, but he abandoned the idea after injuring himself by falling off a ladder.[2] He studied organ from 1922, then changed to performing trombone with local bands. He made his recording debut in December 1930 as a vocalist with Luis Russell's band.[1] He joined Blanche Calloway's orchestra in the early 1930s. He led his own groups both on the east and west coast between 1947 and the mid-1950s.

From then he was a session man. He appeared on the television program The Sound of Jazz in 1957 with Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Gerry Mulligan, and Billie Holiday. He also recorded as a sideman with Jimmy Rushing (on Vanguard Records), Coleman Hawkins (Capitol and Prestige Records), Pee Wee Russell (Black Lion), Benny Carter (Bluebird and Black & Blue), Lester Young (Blue Note and Verve), Count Basie (Columbia and Pablo), Sidney Bechet (Bluebird, Black & Blue, and Blue Note). In 1953, he recorded The Vic Dickenson Showcase for Vanguard with Ed Hall on clarinet and Ruby Braff on trumpet.[1] In 1958, Sydney Bechet made him come to France and play record at Brussel exposal.

Dickenson was a member of "The World's Greatest Jazz Band", the house band at The Roosevelt Grill in New York City.[3] He also performed at the same venue in a smaller group that featured him alongside trumpeter Bobby Hackett.[1]

Dickenson is in Art Kane's photograph, A Great Day in Harlem, which includes trombonist Miff Mole.

For all his lively musical talent, Dickenson was a laconic man who often liked to be alone between sets. During his long association with bands at Eddie Condon's, he would often retire to a single chair that sat in a small alcove 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 money, he took it.[citation needed]

Dickenson died in New York City in 1984 at the age of 78 as a result of cancer.[2]


As leader/co-leaderEdit

  • Vic Dickenson Showcase, Vol. 1 (Vanguard, 1953)
  • Vic Dickenson Showcase, Vol. 2 (Vanguard, 1954)
  • Vic Dickenson Septet, Vol. 1 (Vanguard, 1954)
  • Vic Dickenson Septet, Vol. 2 (Vanguard, 1954)
  • Vic Dickenson Septet, Vol. 3 (Vanguard, 1954)
  • Vic Dickenson Septet, Vol. 4 (Vanguard, 1954)
  • Vic's Boston Story (Storyville, 1957)
  • Mainstream (Atlantic, 1958)
  • Newport Jazz Festival All Stars (Atlantic, 1959 [1960]) with Buck Clayton, George Wein, Pee Wee Russell, Bud Freeman, Champ Jones and Jake Hanna
  • In Holland (Riff, 1974)
  • French Festival (Nice, France 1974) (Classic Jazz Music, 1974)
  • Gentleman of the Trombone (Storyville, 1975)
  • Vic Dickenson Quintet (SLP, 1976)
  • Plays Bessie Smith: Trombone Cholly (Gazell, 1976)
  • Roy Eldridge & Vic Dickenson With Eddie Locke & His Friends (Storyville, 1978)
  • New York Axis: Phil Wilson & Vic Dickenson (Famous Door, 1980)
  • Just Friends (Sackville, 1985)
  • Live at Music Room (Valley Vue, 1996)
  • Backstage with Bobby Hackett: Milwaukee 1951 (Jasmine, 2000)
  • Swing That Music (Black & Blue, 2002)[4]

As sidemanEdit

With Buster Bailey

With Coleman Hawkins

With Johnny Hodges

With Claude Hopkins

With Langston Hughes

With Budd Johnson

With Jo Jones

With Al Sears

With Dicky Wells

With Joe Williams

With Lester Young


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 106. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  2. ^ a b John S. Wilson, "Vic Dickenson, a trombonist with Basie band in 40's, dies", The New York Times, November 18, 1984.
  3. ^ Scott Yanow, "World's Greatest Jazz Band — Live" (review), AllMusic.
  4. ^ "Vic Dickenson | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 June 2017.