Whit Dickey is a somewhat mysterious figure. Anyone who was paying attention to The Music during the mid-90's will know him 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 trap-set 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, woodshedding, and re-alignment. He gave proper time to his compositional urges, and developed material for his full debut as a leader. He recorded Transonic in January of 1997, along with long-time compatriot Rob Brown on alto sax and 'young' Chris Lightcap on bass. Released on AUM Fidelity in 1998, it was voted #3 in the Cadence Readers Poll for Top Records of that year.
In 1999, Dickey moved from his long-time dwelling in Brooklyn to an enclave a couple of hours north of NYC, into the country. That summer, during the downtime of reading mystery novels with a broken toe, 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 of that year and released in the 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 Rob Brown, Mat Maneri, and Matthew Shipp; the striking result of which was 2001's Life Cycle.
Read an Appreciation / Listen to a rare & very extensive Whit Dickey interview
as a Leader: