Walt Dickerson

Walt Dickerson made an impact when he first emerged in the early '60s -- he won the Down Beat Critic's Poll as New Star in 1962 -- but as the years passed he became much less visible. Dickerson graduated from Morgan State College in 1953. After serving in the Army from 1953-1955, he settled in California, where he led a band that included Andrew Cyrille and Andrew Hill. In his early-'60s heyday, Dickerson played the clubs on the New York scene. He worked with Sun Ra, recording Impressions of a Patch of Blue in 1965. Shortly thereafter, Dickerson retired from performing for nearly a decade and returning in 1975. In the years 1977-1978, he made the bulk of his recordings for the Steeplechase label, which included duos with Sun Ra, guitarist Pierre Dørge, and bassist Richard Davis. Also in 1978, Dickerson recorded in a quartet with pianist Albert Dailey. Dickerson was one of the few vibists to exhibit an awareness of free jazz techniques, though he was manifestly conversant in the language of post-bop. Although not heard as a leader on disc after 1982, Dickerson subsequently performed around his native Philadelphia; he died in Willow Grove, PA, of cardiac arrest in May 2008.
Chris Kelsey, Rovi