January/February 1999

Manfred Selchow
Ding! Ding! A Bio-Discographical Scrapbook on Vic Dickenson

This huge book is a loving tribute to one of the Swing Era’s best trombonists. Vic Dickenson was liked for his wit, kindness and personality almost as much as for his very individual music, which was at once whimsical, melodic and swinging. Memories of friends and musicians, as printed here, all testify to this.

Manfred Selchow has collected an enormous amount of information from worldwide sources. More than a portrait of Dickenson alone, the book amounts to a revealing monograph of a not untypical jazz musician’s life in our tormenting century. The hazards of travel, the changeable employment opportunities, tough working conditions, and a somewhat fickle public, these partly explain the use of such opiates as Cutty Sark and pot.

There are 225 photographs and many other illustrations, indices of names and song titles, reproductions of three of Dickenson’s compositions, and a discography running through the text. What with Selchow’s similar 640-page book on Edmond Hall (Profoundly Blue) and the late Klaus Stratemann’s Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film, it is necessary to recognize that some of the best, ego-free jazz scholarship is now coming from Germany.

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