Collection: Whit Dickey
Photo: R.I. Sutherland-Cohen
Anyone who was paying attention to The Music during the mid-90s will know Whit Dickey as the tremendous and uniquely gifted drummer who spent full part-and-parcel time with the phenomenal groups of David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp. To recap: Whit provided the drums foundation, pulse and flow to the deep classic sides Third Ear Recitation, Cryptology, DAO, Circular Temple, Flow of X, Critical Mass (and Elsewhere by the Joe Morris Ensemble) during that time.
In 1996, after parting ways with both of these groups, Whit went through a period of contemplation, wood-shedding, and re-alignment. He gave proper time to his compositional urges, and developed material for his own leader debut. Transonic was recorded in January 1998, along with long-time compatriot Rob Brown on alto sax and 'young' Chris Lightcap on bass (in his first appearance on record!). Released that same year, it was voted #3 in the Cadence Readers Poll.
In 1999, Dickey moved from his long-time dwelling in Brooklyn into the country, to an enclave a couple of hours north of NYC. That summer, he developed a new appreciation for the syncretic relationship between air frequencies and dance response. At the end of the summer, he decided to create a new trio document with these insights playing a large part thereof. The result was Big Top, recorded in November and released in early summer of 2000 on Wobbly Rail, a short-lived imprint started by Merge Records/Superchunk principal Mac McCaughan. Later that year, a wholly new group concept was developed in collaboration with Brown, Mat Maneri, and Matthew Shipp; the striking result of which was 2001's Life Cycle.
A revisitation of Whit's trio with Rob Brown and Joe Morris in 2002 bore great fruit on Prophet Moon. This work was followed by a very strong series of releases as a leader on the Lisbon-based Clean Feed label, featuring the great talent/s of Roy Campbell together with Brown and Morris. In 2007, Whit Dickey rejoined forces with Matthew Shipp as a member of Shipp's Trio.
After an extended period of silence on record (and otherwise), it was with great pleasure to present the re-emergence of Whit Dickey as a group leader with the release of the exquisitely rendered Vessel in Orbit in 2017. This began a period of WD being in the light, and has resulted in a series of illuminated new recordings, an astonishing (!) pair of which – by the Tao Quartets were released together on AUM Fidelity in July 2019. Indeed, at the center of Dickey's enlightenment is a personal understanding of the Tao. In May 2020, in a joint endeavor with Steven Joerg of AUM Fidelity, the new TAO Forms label was launched.