“(Jim Dickinson is)…. that magical musical maestro from Memphis…. he was the kind of guy you could call to play piano, fix a tractor, or make red cole slaw from scratch.”
“There are cool cats and there are cool Memphis cats but no one, not Elvis, not Jerry Lee, not even the Wolf came close to epitomizing Memphis and cool like Jim Dickinson did. He was the Top Cat Daddy, an inspiration, a mentor and my friend.
If you knew his music and understood his role as one of the links between black and white culture and between blues and rock and roll, you know what I’m talking about. If he is unfamiliar to you, now’s as good time as any to get to know him, even though he’s checked out of the motel.”
-Joe Nick Patoski
John Brown (from his great 1972 album “Dixie Fried” – words by Bob Dylan):
James Luther “Jim” Dickinson (November 15, 1941 – August 15, 2009) was an American record producer, pianist, and singer who fronted, among others, the Memphis based band, Mudboy & The Neutrons.
In the late 1960s, Dickinson joined with fellow Memphis musicians Charlie Freeman, Michael Utley, Tommy McClure and Sammy Creason; this group became known as the “Dixie Flyers” and provided backup for musicians recording for Atlantic Records. Perhaps their best-known work was for Aretha Franklin’s 1970 Spirit in the Dark.
In December 1969, Dickinson played piano on The Rolling Stones’ track “Wild Horses” at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama
In 1972 Dickinson released his first solo album, “Dixie Fried”, which featured songs by Bob Dylan, Furry Lewis, and the title song by Carl Perkins.
In 1974 he produced Big Star’s Third
Co-produced with Alex Chilton on the 1979 Chilton album Like Flies on Sherbert.
He has produced Willy DeVille, Green on Red, Mojo Nixon, Neon Wheels, Jason & The Nashville Scorchers, The Replacements,Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and The Dick Nixons, among many others
in 1977 an aural documentary of Memphis’ Beale Street, Beale Street Saturday Night, which featured performances by Sid Selvidge, Furry Lewis and Dickinson’s band Mud Boy and the Neutrons.
He has also worked with Ry Cooder, and played on Dylan’s album Time Out of Mind. He played keyboards, Wurlitzer electric piano, pump organ on “Love Sick”, “Dirt Road Blues”, “Million Miles”, “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven”, “Til I Fell in Love with You”, “Not Dark Yet”, “Can’t Wait”, and “Highlands”
In 1998, he produced Mudhoney’s, Tomorrow Hit Today.
Introducing himself – from www.artistshousemusic.org:
“People said I’d never make 35, then I’d never make 40, 45; now I’m almost 50, so Im beginning to think maybe they might be wrong.”
— Chet Baker
Chet Baker was a primary exponent of the West Coast school of cool jazz in the early and mid-’50s. As a trumpeter, he had a generally restrained, intimate playing style and he attracted attention beyond jazz for his photogenic looks and singing. But his career was marred by drug addiction.
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)
Time after Time Live (Belgium 1964):
Chesney Henry “Chet” Baker, Jr. (December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and singer.
In the 1950s, Baker earned much attention and critical praise, particularly for albums featuring his vocals, such as Chet Baker Sings. Jazz historian David Gelly described the promise of Baker’s early career as seemingly representing “James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one.” However, his “well-publicized drug habit” also drove his notoriety and fame, as Baker was in and out of jail for much of his life, before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and ’80s.
In 1987 he was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.
In 1989 he was elected to Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame by that magazine’s Critics Poll.
In 1991 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
In 2005 Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry and the Oklahoma House of Representatives proclaimed July 2 as “Chet Baker Day”.
My Funny Valentine:
Album of the day:
Chet Baker Sings (1956):
As Gerald Heard’s liner notes point out, it’s difficult to decide whether Chet Baker was a trumpet player who sang or a singer who played trumpet. When the 24-year-old California-based trumpeter started his vocal career in 1954, his singing was revolutionary; as delicate and clear as his trumpet playing, with a similarly bright and vibrato-free tone, Baker simply didn’t sound like any previous jazz singer.
~Stewart Mason (allmusic.com)