Some jazz musicians are garrulous, bubbly; Vic Dickenson barely spoke, and when he did address a comment to someone else on the stand, it was hard even for a practiced eavesdropper to catch what he was saying. Often his words were punctuated by a laugh that would be difficult to describe.
When Vic was photographed, because of the trombone’s intrusive size and shape, he often looked like a man at the mercy of his instrument, his brow furrowed. Photographs also captured him looking angry — which was misleading, for he seemed the least contentious of men.
Here’s an uncredited photo study of Vic from LIFE magazine, presumably from the Fifties (I date it by his hairline). It captures his seriousness, as well as some delightful reflections in the trombone’s bell, although it can’t summon up his sense of humor, his wonderful sound and sounds.
For that, thankfully, we have the recordings he made over nearly half a century.