Whit Dickey

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Whit Dickey
Whit Dickey.jpg
Dickey performing at the world premiere of the David S. Ware Unit, which took place at International House in Philadelphia on 12 Jan 2007 as part of their "Seraphic Light" series.
Background information
Born (1954-05-28) May 28, 1954 (age 62)
New York City, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop, hard bop avant-garde jazz, free improvisation
Occupation(s) Drummer, composer
Instruments Drums, percussion

Whit Dickey (born May 28, 1954, New York City) is a free jazz drummer. He has recorded albums as a bandleader, with David S. Ware, Matthew Shipp and others.[1][2]


Free jazz drummer Whit Dickey first stepped into the spotlight as a leader with the release of his Transonic album from Aum Fidelity in 1998. Two years later, Wobbly Rail issued his Big Top release. Previously, he was best known for his solid work with Matthew Shipp and David S. Ware, with whom Dickey split in 1996. Early the following year, the drummer began composing the works that would be included on Transonic. Dickey penned all but two songs, "Kinesis" and "Second Skin," on the collection, and he even had a hand in those with the help of his fellow musicians on the album. The original compositions give a nod to the influence of "Criss Cross" and "Off Minor" from the legendary Thelonious Monk. Dickey recorded the album with the aid of Rob Brown on flute and alto saxophone, and Chris Lightcap on bass. In 2001, Dickey recorded half a dozen of his compositions with Mat Maneri, Shipp, and Brown under the name Nommonsemble, and put out Life Cycle through Aum Fidelity.

Musical Contributions[edit]

Whit Dickey made a name for himself as the former drummer of David S. Ware’s famous quartet. Since then Dickey’s musical contributions have gone well beyond his work as Ware’s drummer. He is capable of tremendous power and yet has the ability for subtle gesture. Dickey is a composer as well as a drummer and his music has reached new heights in his recent small group work, with a coterie of great musicians including alto saxophonist Rob Brown. He has been performing with Matthew Shipp since 1991 and continues to play and record with Roy Campbell Jr., Mat Maneri, Chris Lightcap and many others. Since 2007 Dickey has been focussing on developing an integrative improvisational style while working with Shipp's Trio.

Daniel Carter and Dickey recorded an album pianist Eri Yamamoto in 2008.

The album Art of the Improvisor from The Matthew Shipp Trio received much critical acclaim and was listed as one of the year's best of 2011. Dickey has started a cooperative unit with Sabir Mateen & Michael Bisio, which is another example of post- Coltrane integral unity, and is call Blood Trio.

Shipp, Bisio and Dickey have also been working with Ivo Perelman in various configurations.


As leader[edit]

Release year Title Label Notes
1998 Transonic AUM Fidelity Trio, with Rob Brown (alto sax, flute), Chris Lightcap (bass)
2000 Big Top Wobbly Rail Quartet, with Joe Morris (guitar), Chris Lightcap (bass), Rob Brown (alto sax, tenor sax, flute)
2001 Life Cycle AUM Fidelity As the band The Nommonsemble; quartet with Rob Brown (alto sax, flute), Mat Maneri (viola), Matthew Shipp (piano)
2002 Prophet Moon Riti As the band Trio Ahxoloxha; with Joe Morris (guitar), Rob Brown (alto sax)
2004 Coalescence Clean Feed Quartet, with Roy Campbell (trumpet), Rob Brown (alto sax, flute), Joe Morris (bass)
2005 In a Heartbeat Clean Feed Quintet, with Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Rob Brown (alto sax), Joe Morris (guitar), Chris Lightcap (bass)
2006 Sacred Ground Clean Feed Quartet, with Roy Campbell (trumpet), Rob Brown (alto sax), Joe Morris (bass)
2009 Emergence Not Two Trio, with Daniel Carter (reeds, trumpet, flute), Eri Yamamoto (piano)
2016 Fierce Silence Clean Feed Duo, with Kirk Knuffke (cornet)

As sideman[edit]

Release year Leader Title Label
1992 Brown, RobRob Brown Youniverse Riti
1996 Morris, JoeJoe Morris Elsewhere Homestead
2012 Perelman, IvoIvo Perelman The Clairvoyant Leo Records
2013 Perelman, IvoIvo Perelman Enigma Leo Records
2013 Perelman, IvoIvo Perelman The Edge Leo Records
2015 Perelman, IvoIvo Perelman Tenorhood Leo Records
1992 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Points Silkheart
1992 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Circular Temple Quinton
1995 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Critical Mass 2.13.61
1996 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Prism Brinkman
1997 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp The Flow of X 2.13.61
2007 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Piano Vortex Thirsty Ear
2008 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Right Hemisphere RogueArt
2008 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Cosmic Suite Not Two
2009 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Harmonic Disorder Thirsty Ear
2011 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Art of the Improviser Thirsty Ear
2012 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Elastic Aspects Thirsty Ear
2014 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp Root of Things Relative Pitch
2015 Shipp, MatthewMatthew Shipp To Duke RogueArt
1993 Ware, David S.David S. Ware Third Ear Recitation DIW
1994 Ware, David S.David S. Ware Earthquation DIW
1995 Ware, David S.David S. Ware Cryptology Homestead
1996 Ware, David S.David S. Ware Oblations and Blessings Silkheart
1996 Ware, David S.David S. Ware DAO Homestead


  1. ^ Seida, Linda. "Whit Dickey > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Whit Dickey at All About Jazz". Retrieved 20 March 2010.