An Appreciation of Vic Dickenson

By Andrew Sordoni

For more than 50 years jazz music has intrigued and nourished my whole self without ever demanding more than  attention. At various times my focus fluctuated from meager to intense but at no time was jazz away from my need to listen, to know and to feel.

As a producer, enabler and manager of events and a respected recording company, Chiaroscuro, I have been privileged to know and work with some of the greatest performers of the music. To my regret there were others I could have known but did not, Vic Dickenson was one of those.

Through listening and reading I know that Vic was important in many ways: a master of the trombone, a fluent and humorous improviser, an unrecognized composer and one of the best ensemble players ever. These conclusions are proved by the recordings that feature Vic on Chiaroscuro including 4 with Bobby Hackett, Live at the Roosevelt Grill; Eddie Condon In Japan; Buck Clayton Jam Session #2 and Teddy Wilson and His All Stars along with a Ralph Sutton – Vic Dickenson recording we acquired when we purchased CHAZZ JAZZ in the late 1980’s.

Although I had no direct involvement in recording these examples my “fingerprints” are on them administratively and with great respect for their worth. To cite the versatility of Vic Dickenson we offer these very different examples:

CONSTANTLY – written, played and sung by Vic, this tune was recorded many times especially by Bobby Hackett and The World’s Greatest Jazz Band. To fully appreciate the charm of the composition and its words (which make it a song) we are including a true transcription.


Got you on my mind Constantly

Can’t you find some time just for me

Every day when I awake I always think of you

Night time when I go to bed I go there feeling blue

I used to think about you, casually

Now I know that you’re meant for me

I’ll only hope and pray that all my dreams come true

Then I could be with you Constantly

LOVER COME BACK TO ME was written by Sigmund Romberg and is a favorite of jazz musicians. In this version Vic states the melody and verse then blows 4 choruses of musical joy.

JUNE NIGHT is a favorite of Teddy Wilson who led the band and Bob Wilber who wrote the arrangement. Vic is perfect in the ensemble and takes one improvised chorus.