December 8, 2019 3:00pm
The Clemente, Room 203
107 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002
Drummer Whit Dickey, bassist Brandon Lopez, and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter perform on December 8 at the Clemente. These free performances are a great opportunity to introduce friends and family to improvisation!
Whit Dickey grew up in Bennington, VT, where he was introduced to the music of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald through his father’s record collection. He was also exposed to the music of The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, and was captivated by the drumming of Mitch Mitchell and Jack deJohnette. Seeing Sam Rivers perform with drummer Freddie Waits while studying at UMass in 1974 opened his mind to the possibilities of creative improvisation. Le Roi Jones’ compilation of writings on 60s jazz scene, Black Music, and the music of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Elvin Jones, and Sunny Murray, further pushed Dickey’s interest toward the avant-garde. He became a regular audience member during the NYC “loft scene” of ‘76 and ‘77, and in 1978 began to seriously pursue the drums.
Whit joined the Creative Music Studio, where he studied combinations of rhythm units – taki and gamala – invented by Don Cherry and Karl Berger, played with many visiting artists, and in Karl Berger’s free jazz ensembles. He would move to NYC, where he continued to play with musicians from CMS, and spent time studying with Andrew Cyrille. He later attended Bennington College, where he studied and performed with professors Milford Graves and Bill Dixon. During this time, Dickey began developing his free approach to drumming.
After earning a Masters in Third Stream Studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, Whit met fellow NEC alum and pianist Matthew Shipp, who would introduce him to alto saxophonist Rob Brown. Whit and Rob were formative members of the Matthew Shipp Quartet, who along with William Parker, would release the album Points in 1990. In 1992, the trio of Dickey, Shipp, and Parker put out the recording Circular Temple, inspired by a mutual love for the short story, “The Circular Ruins,” by Jorge Luis Borges.
Whit soon joined Matthew and William in the David S. Ware Quartet. He recorded 5 albums and toured frequently as part of the quartet until 1996. In 1997, Whit recorded his first album as leader, the trio date Transonic with Rob Brown and bassist Chris Lightcap. He soon moved north of NYC to refocus his studies in private. He continued to record while developing a personal style cradling syncopation and free improvisation, drawing from Billy Higgins, Milford Graves, and Elvin Jones. Dickey linked back up with Matthew Shipp and joined his trio in 2007, resulting in several critically acclaimed records. In 2014, Whit retreated from the scene in pursuit of stillness, which lead him to embrace silence and space in his playing. Fierce Silence and Drone Dream, duo records with cornetist Kirk Knuffke, exemplify this approach. In 2019, Aum Fidelity released the 2-CD set, Peace Planet -&- Box of Light.
Whit Dickey - drums / Brandon Lopez - bass / Daniel Carter - horns