Whit Dickey

Whit Dickey (born May 28, 1954) is a free jazz drummer. He has recorded albums with David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp.[1][2]

Whit Dickey
Dickey performs at the world premiere of the David S. Ware Unit, which took place at International House in Philadelphia on January 12, 2007.
Dickey performs at the world premiere of the David S. Ware Unit, which took place at International House in Philadelphia on January 12, 2007.
Background information
Born (1954-05-28) May 28, 1954 (age 67)
New York City
GenresJazz, avant-garde jazz, free improvisation


Free jazz drummer Whit Dickey first stepped into the spotlight as a leader with the release of his Transonic album from Aum Fidelity in 1998. Two years later, Wobbly Rail issued his Big Top release. Previously, he was best known for his solid work with Matthew Shipp and David S. Ware, with whom Dickey split in 1996. Early the following year, the drummer began composing the works that would be included on Transonic. Dickey penned all but two songs, "Kinesis" and "Second Skin," on the collection, and he even had a hand in those with the help of his fellow musicians on the album. The original compositions give a nod to the influence of "Criss Cross" and "Off Minor" from the legendary Thelonious Monk. Dickey recorded the album with the aid of Rob Brown on flute and alto saxophone, and Chris Lightcap on bass. In 2001, Dickey recorded half a dozen of his compositions with Mat Maneri, Shipp, and Brown under the name Nommonsemble, and put out Life Cycle through Aum Fidelity.


Whit Dickey made a name for himself as the former drummer of David S. Ware’s famous quartet. Since then Dickey’s musical contributions have gone well beyond his work as Ware’s drummer. He is capable of tremendous power and yet has the ability for subtle gesture. Dickey is a composer as well as a drummer and his music has reached new heights in his recent small group work, with a coterie of great musicians including alto saxophonist Rob Brown. He has been performing with Matthew Shipp since 1991 and continues to play and record with Roy Campbell Jr., Mat Maneri, Chris Lightcap and many others. Since 2007 Dickey has been focussing on developing an integrative improvisational style while working with Shipp's Trio.

Daniel Carter and Dickey recorded an album pianist Eri Yamamoto in 2008.

The album Art of the Improvisor from The Matthew Shipp Trio received much critical acclaim and was listed as one of the year's best of 2011. Dickey has started a cooperative unit with Sabir Mateen & Michael Bisio, which is another example of post- Coltrane integral unity, and is call Blood Trio.

Shipp, Bisio and Dickey have also been working with Ivo Perelman in various configurations.


As leaderEdit

Release year Title Label Notes
1998 Transonic AUM Fidelity Trio, with Rob Brown (alto sax, flute), Chris Lightcap (bass)
2000 Big Top Wobbly Rail Quartet, with Joe Morris (guitar), Chris Lightcap (bass), Rob Brown (alto sax, tenor sax, flute)
2001 Life Cycle AUM Fidelity As the band The Nommonsemble; quartet with Rob Brown (alto sax, flute), Mat Maneri (viola), Matthew Shipp (piano)
2002 Prophet Moon Riti As the band Trio Ahxoloxha; with Joe Morris (guitar), Rob Brown (alto sax)
2004 Coalescence Clean Feed Quartet, with Roy Campbell (trumpet), Rob Brown (alto sax, flute), Joe Morris (bass)
2005 In a Heartbeat Clean Feed Quintet, with Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Rob Brown (alto sax), Joe Morris (guitar), Chris Lightcap (bass)
2006 Sacred Ground Clean Feed Quartet, with Roy Campbell (trumpet), Rob Brown (alto sax), Joe Morris (bass)
2009 Emergence Not Two Trio, with Daniel Carter (reeds, trumpet, flute), Eri Yamamoto (piano)
2016 Fierce Silence Clean Feed Duo, with Kirk Knuffke (cornet)
2017 Vessel in Orbit AUM Fidelity Trio, with Mat Maneri (viola), Matthew Shipp (piano)
2019 Peace Planet / Box of Light AUM Fidelity Peace Planet (Quartet): with Rob Brown (alto sax), Matthew Shipp (piano), William Parker (bass) / Box of Light (Quartet): with Rob Brown (alto sax), Steve Swell (trombone), Michael Bisio (bass)
2020 Morph ESP-Disk CD 1: Reckoning: with Matthew Shipp (piano); CD 2: Pacific Noir with Nate Wooley (trumpet), Matthew Shipp (piano)
2020 Expanding Light Tao Forms Trio: Brandon Lopez (bass), Rob Brown (alto sax)

As sidemanEdit

Release year Leader Title Label
1993 David S. Ware Third Ear Recitation DIW
1994 David S. Ware Earthquation DIW
1995 David S. Ware Cryptology Homestead
1996 David S. Ware Oblations and Blessings Silkheart
1996 David S. Ware DAO Homestead
1992 Matthew Shipp Points Silkheart
1992 Matthew Shipp Circular Temple Quinton
1995 Matthew Shipp Critical Mass 2.13.61
1996 Matthew Shipp Prism Brinkman
1997 Matthew Shipp The Flow of X 2.13.61
2007 Matthew Shipp Piano Vortex Thirsty Ear
2008 Matthew Shipp Right Hemisphere RogueArt
2008 Matthew Shipp Cosmic Suite Not Two
2009 Matthew Shipp Harmonic Disorder Thirsty Ear
2011 Matthew Shipp Art of the Improviser Thirsty Ear
2012 Matthew Shipp Elastic Aspects Thirsty Ear
2014 Matthew Shipp Root of Things Relative Pitch
2015 Matthew Shipp To Duke RogueArt
2017 Matthew Shipp Not Bound Fortune
2018 Matthew Shipp Sonic Fiction ESP-Disk'
1992 Rob Brown Youniverse Riti
1996 Joe Morris Elsewhere Homestead
2012 Ivo Perelman The Clairvoyant Leo Records
2013 Ivo Perelman Enigma Leo Records
2013 Ivo Perelman The Edge Leo Records
2014 Ivo Perelman The Other Edge Leo Records
2015 Ivo Perelman Tenorhood Leo Records
2015 Ivo Perelman Butterfly Whispers Leo Records
2016 Ivo Perelman Soul Leo Records
2016 Ivo Perelman The Art Of The Improv Trio Volume 2 Leo Records
2017 Ivo Perelman The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 3: Pandora Leo Records
2017 Ivo Perelman The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 5: Rhea Leo Records


  1. ^ Seida, Linda. "Whit Dickey > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Whit Dickey at All About Jazz". Retrieved 20 March 2010.