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date: 29 March 2020

Dixon, Jessylocked

  • Horace Clarence Boyer
  • , revised by Jonas Westover

Extract

(b San Antonio, TX, March 12, 1938; d Chicago, IL, September 26, 2011). American gospel singer, pianist, and composer. He studied piano at St. Mary’s College, San Antonio, with the aim of becoming a concert pianist and first heard gospel music as a teenager through the recordings and concerts of Clara Ward and the Ward Singers and Dorothy Love Coates and the Original Gospel Harmonettes. He left college after two years and subsequently worked as an accompanist for Brother Joe May before joining James Cleveland’s Gospel Chimes in 1960. After five years with Cleveland, Dixon became the director of the Thompson Community Singers, recording with them under the name the Chicago Community Choir. In the late 1960s he organized the Jessy Dixon Singers, modeling its sound and style on Cleveland’s group; Dixon provided a baritone lead employing high falsetto in a repertory of call-and-response songs. When he left the Savoy record label in the early 1970s and moved to Light Records, his style changed to that of contemporary gospel, emphasizing pure vocal sounds, borrowing melodies and harmonies from the popular music tradition, and incorporating electronic instruments. Between ...

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