A Gathering Foretold: My jazz debut


My name is Daniel Dickinson, and I am a senior music student at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. I am currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in both jazz studies on saxophone, and clarinet performance. God has blessed me with phenomenal parents, amazing educators, fellow musicians, and opportunites that have granted me considerable growth as a musician. 

But just a little while ago, an opportunity came my way that overshadowed all of the opportunites I have had up to this point: A chance to record an album with some contemporary jazz giants. 

It all started a few years ago, when the great Christian McBride came to UNF to do a masterclass on performing with small jazz ensembles. My group eventually played one of my compositions for them. It went over well, but I did not expect what was coming. His drummer (the great Ulysses Owens, Jr.) was there with him, and he came up to me and asked if he could record the tune on his upcoming album. I agreed immediately, sent him the music, and he recorded it with a phenomenal group in New York. 

In the next few months, he had me write arrangements here and there for his projects. This was already a musical relationship that I was praying would stay for a very long time. And when it came time for his CD release in New York, I gladly went and checked it out. They played all of the material, including my own composition, and gave me a shoutout, too! It was an amazing experience. I also was able to meet the band - they were all very complimentary of my composing, and encouraged me to "keep writing!". Ulysses then took me to the side and dropped it on me. He said "I would love to record an album with you. Let me know when you'de like to do it!"

Star struck, unbelieving, I agreed - knowing that I had probably, although begun a journey that would have its fair share of trials, made a decision that would open up countless doors for me as a performer. We started planning, and things started coming together. Now, the band is lined up, the compositions are written, the studio is booked, the producer is ready, and the flights are scheduled. It is going to be a tremendous endeavor. Not only will it be with some very well-known musicians in the jazz world such as Christian Sands, Ulysses Owens, Jr., Reuben Rogers, and Michael Dease,  but I will also be bringing up some incredibly skilled and talented musicians from my home, Jacksonville. It will be a great mixture of southern and northern musicians - an opportunity to create a strong network between the two cities.

We will be recording in Brooklyn, in Bunker Studios. The album will feature 8 of my own compositions and 2 guest tunes from Mike Dease and Christian Sands. 

It has always been my dream to make a living playing music. Doing what I love. And now, with this album in the works, I can actually see that dream start to take shape. By the grace of God, I can finally see a path forming in front of me.

Now as you know, albums take time, planning, and most importantly - money. The budget is already decided, and I have even submitted my first deposit to the production company. In order to get there, I need the help of everybody I can find to help me fund this project. Anything and everything is greatly appreciated - every penny helps make this thing happen. If you don't care to donate, please feel free to share this project with everyone you know who might find it worthwhile!

Thanks to everyone who has gotten me this far - My parents, Edson and Donna Dickinson, my brothers, Chris and Scott Dickinson, the faculty at UNF, my fellow students, my high school and middle school teachers, Ace Martin, Carol McQueen, Jim Daniel, Chrstopher Banks and Shawn Barat, my church family, and God - who has given me the heart to keep on.


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Daniel Dickinson 
Jacksonville, FL
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