Vic Dickenson Day

August 6, 1906 – November 16, 1984


I’ll Try

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Trombonist Victor Dickenson was born on August 6, 1906 in Xenia, Ohio.

After a brief stint on organ, Dickenson switched to trombone in the early 1920s, playing with such obscure bands as the Elite Syncopators, and groups led by Roy Brown, Don Phillips, Willie Jones, Bill Broadhus, Wesley Helvey and Leonard Gay.

Dickenson worked with the better-known groups of Speed Webb (1929-30), Zack Whyte (1930-32), Blanche Calloway (1933-36), Claude Hopkins (1936-39), Benny Carter and, in 1940, Count Basie.

He spent most of the rest of his long career playing in swing and Dixieland combos including with Sidney Bechet, Frankie Newton, Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, the Eddie Heywood Sextet, Henry “Red” Allen, the Saints and Sinners, Eddie Condon, and a quintet that he co-led with Bobby Hackett.

By the 1940s Dickenson had his own sound, one with occasional tonal distortions (he could sound as if he was playing underwater), wit and solid swing.

This film clip features the distinctive Vic Dickenson on his ballad “I’ll Try” from the early 1970s with an introduction by Bobby Hackett and fine accompaniment by pianist Lou Forestieri, bassist Franklyn Skeete and drummer Don DeMichael.

-Scott Yanow

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