Artist: Vic Dickenson & Sir Charles Thompson
Album: Further On
01. Lover Come Back to Me
03. You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
04. All Too Soon
05. Big Boy
06. Willie Mae
07. The Lamp Is Low
08. Nice Work If You Can Get It
10. A Cottage for Sale
11. Hold My Hand
12. In a Sentimental Mood
13. Runnin’ Wild
14. When You and I Were Young, Maggie
16. Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now
17. Just One More Chance
A distinctive trombonist with a sly wit and the ability to sound as if he were playing underwater, Vic Dickenson was an asset to any session on which he appeared. He stated out in the 1920s and ’30s playing in the Midwest. Associations with Blanche Calloway (1933-1936), Claude Hopkins (1936-1939), Benny Carter (1939), Count Basie (1940), Carter again (1941), and Frankie Newton (1941-1943) preceded a high-profile gig with Eddie Heywood’s popular sextet (1943-1946); Dickenson also played and recorded with Sidney Bechet. From then on he was a freelancing soloist who spent time on the West Coast, Boston, and New York, appearing on many recordings (including some notable dates for Vanguard) and on the legendary Sound of Jazz telecast (1957). In the 1960s, Dickenson co-led the Saints and Sinners, toured with George Wein’s Newport All-Stars, and worked regularly with Wild Bill Davison and Eddie Condon. During 1968-1970, he was in a quintet with Bobby Hackett and in the 1970s, he sometimes played with the World’s Greatest Jazz Band.
The elegantly nicknamed Sir Charles Thompson was one of the few musicians associated with swing who was able to make a graceful, wholehearted transition to bop at the time the revolution was happening. His piano style is light-fingered and spare in a witty, inventive, Basie-descended bop manner, and he was able to adapt it effectively to the organ. Thompson’s first instrument was the violin, but the piano beckoned when he was a teenager, and he started working with territory bands in the midwest in the late 1930s.
He briefly joined Lionel Hampton in 1940, but left in order to work with small groups and contribute arrangements to Basie, Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Jimmy Dorsey, and other bands. While working in New York’s 52nd St. clubs during World War II, he began to pick up on the beginnings of bop. In 1944-1945, Thompson played in the Coleman Hawkins/Howard McGhee band, journeying to Hollywood with them to record several terrific swing/bop sides for Capitol (now on Hollywood Stampede) and also his lively tune “Ladies’ Lullaby” for Asch. So thoroughly had Thompson absorbed the language and ethos of bop that he was able to write one of the quintessential classics of the idiom, “Robbins’ Nest,” which became a hit for Sir Charles’ next employer, Illinois Jacquet, and inspired a haunting, pathbreaking Gil Evans arrangement for Claude Thornhill in 1947.
Thompson recorded a number of small group albums for Vanguard in the ’50s, and two more for Columbia in 1959 and 1960, and appeared as a sideman for Buck Clayton and Jimmy Rushing, but spent much of the ’50s freelancing as an organist. He toured the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico in the ’60s leading small groups, as well as Europe with Clayton. Following a bout of ill health, he returned to action in 1975. His early bop sides for Apollo, including some with Hawkins and Charlie Parker, are available on the Delmark reissue Takin’ Off.