16 November 2006


On the occasion of Walt Dickerson's fourth recording session he was to document what many of those familiar with his work consider to be his magnum opus To My Queen, which included a dedicatory suite to his wife Elizabeth that effectively encapsulates his approach and resolve on his instrument. In attendance for this seminal outing is a trio of sidemen of a caliber that Dickerson would not recreate for the remainder of his career. Andrew Hill was over a year away from his legendary stay at Blue Note, but the emancipating imagination that characterized his work with that label is already on display here. Cyrille again holds down the drum duties and testifies to his continuing aspiration toward rhythmic liberation. George Tucker's presence as anchor is perhaps the most important and his voice on strings is a unifying element, particularly on the title piece.In listening to "To My Queen" it's easy to become lost in the piece's persisting flow of imagery. Dickerson sits out for almost half of its duration and Hill and Tucker are both afforded a liberal amount of space to solo. Attention can be directed toward the contributions of each of the players, but the suite seems to work on a deeper level than these individual parts. The feeling conveyed by the composition is one of heart-felt and lasting love, which surpasses the musical structures that form its foundation. The rendition of "How Deep Is the Ocean" is similarly protracted and in this standard setting the solos of the players are invested with less interdependence. An odd aspect inherent in the recording is an audible clicking noise that accompanies Dickerson's numerous solo choruses. The closing reworking of "God Bless the Child" as a duet recalls "Unknown" both in instrumentation and approach. Though Tucker's earthen bow is less trenchant than Malik's favoring a brooding resonance over swiftly deployed harmonic structures.Sadly this disc would be Dickerson's last for New Jazz. The remainder of the 60s saw him record only twice more and produce offerings that quickly went out of print. A similarly sporadic schedule marked his work in the 70s though he did find some solace and nurturing sustenance with the Dutch Steeplechase label recording a string of titles which are now also out of circulation. By the early 80s he had ceased recording altogether. His whereabouts and activities since have been unconfirmed and contested. The factors that precipitated his continuing hiatus are debatable. What endures as far less nebulous is the promise he demonstrated on his early work for New Jazz; a body of music that stands in strongest support of his place as one of the most innovative stylists ever on his instrument
From Onefinalnote.com
Re-issued on both vinyl(a couple of years ago-not so easy to find now) and remastered for cd in 1996


Big Papi said...

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julioxo said...

Thanks for the music bacoso

Newk said...

I was having a sort of Walt Dickerson marathon listening session, and realized that this is a crucial album that I am missing from my collection. Any chance of a re-post? Thanks.

makuma said...

Yes, I'm also so curious about this album. Eh eh, Bacoso, your blog should be a real institution..

JazzDoIt said...

Any chance of a reup of this Dickerson record? and the Lawrence of Arabia too... please