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The Trombone
A consistent favorite with jazzmen of all schools is Vic Dicken­son. Though he was born in 1906 and was on public display in reasonably well known bands as far back as the depression years, it was not until the 1940s, when New Yorkers observed him in the bands of Benny Carter, Count Basie and Eddie Heywood, that Dickenson attracted national attention. He is the homespun philosopher of the trombone—a master of the blues, a sly humor­ist, an intensely rhythmic performer who seems miraculously to have discovered his own way of phrasing pairs of dotted eighths and sixteenths. Like many capable soloists unable to find suit­able employment in the dwindling rank of the big swing bands, Dickenson for years has been forced to work in predominantly Dixieland combos, though his style and reading ability fit him for a role affording considerably more scope.
After Dickenson, the first new trombonist to arouse excitement among musicians was Bill Harris. Jet-propelled from obscurity to national eminence on the strength of his membership in the 1944-6 Woody Herman band (Ralph Burns* work Bijou was built as a framework for his best known solo in that orchestra), Harris created a style that was frequently imitated. The qualities that combined to make Harris* style provocatively new were his tone, which sometimes gave one the impression of listening to him through a veil; his vibrato, slow and mournful on ballad perform­ances; and his savage attack and choppy rhythmic alternation of strong and weak accents on the faster tempi.
New and important though Harris was, the contributions of two other musicians whose impact was felt almost simultaneously turned out to be more influential. They were Jay Jay Johnson and Kai Winding, both of whom pioneered separately—each uncon­scious at first of the other's contribution—in the difficult task of transferring the technically complex requirements of bebop to the incompatible medium of the slide trombone. Though it has been a natural tendency of critics to draw the inference that one copied the other, both Johnson and Winding confirm that their styles stemmed naturally from their respective musical environ­ments. Though Johnson played with Benny Carter and Count Basie, while Winding worked with Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton, both made their really important contributions through