March 12, 1938|
San Antonio, Texas, United States
September 26, 2011 (aged 73)|
|Genres||Gospel, Christian, R&B|
|Associated acts||The Goodmans, Bill Gaither Trio, Lillie Knauls, James Cleveland, Andrae Crouch, Albertina Walker, Paul Simon, DeGarmo and Key, Milton Brunson|
Jessy Dixon (March 12, 1938 – September 26, 2011) was an American gospel music singer, songwriter, and pianist, with success among audiences across racial lines. He garnered seven Grammy award nominations during his career.
Musicians with whom he worked include Paul Simon, Andrae Crouch, DeGarmo & Key and most recently Bill Gaither in the Homecoming series of concerts. He wrote songs for Amy Grant, Natalie Cole, Cher, and Diana Ross.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Dixon sang and played his first song at the age of five. As a youngster he moved to Chicago, where he was discovered by James Cleveland, one of the first artists to sing and record Jessy Dixon's compositions, "God Can Do Anything But Fail," and "My God Can Make A Way." The organizers of the Newport Jazz Festival invited him to perform his new song, "The Wicked Shall Cease Their Troubling," at New York's Radio City Music Hall in 1972. After the performance, Dixon and The Jessy Dixon Singers were requested to do four encores. Paul Simon (of Simon & Garfunkel fame), was in the audience and invited Dixon to share the stage with him as lead vocalist on NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live.
Dixon found himself touring with Simon across the U.S., France, Canada, Scandinavia, Israel, and Japan. Dixon's affiliation with Simon lasted eight years, during which time he recorded two albums, Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin' (1974) and Still Crazy After All These Years (1975), both of which sold a million copies.
Bill and Gloria Gaither invited him to sing at a Homecoming video taping. Dixon was a favorite on the series, and has traveled all over the United States and abroad surprising gospel audiences with his stirring performances of "It's A Highway To Heaven," "Operator", "Leaving On My Mind", "Blood Bought Church", "The Wicked Shall Cease Their Troubling", "Lord Prepare Me To Be A Sanctuary", and "I Am Redeemed". Dixon performed in the show, Black Nativity with The Jessy Dixon Theater Group. Spring House Recordings. (2005). The Best of Jessy Dixon [DVD]. Bill Gaither (Director).
- Natalie Cole: "Jessy's music is just like him, beautiful."
- Bill Gaither: "I have traveled with Jessy Dixon for the past several years and never have I been with an artist with more heart. He is the real thing."
- Bette Midler: "I've heard Jessy Dixon sing many times and in all of gospel music, Jessy Dixon is my favorite. Jessy Dixon has the gospel soul."
- Diana Ross: "There's an element in Jessy's music that can't be mistaken. That element is love, and wow do I feel it."