The Dick Patterson Trio – a real-life jazz mystery

    Recordings by Dick Patterson, a bassist active in 1960s Chicago, have been issued for the first time - but who played the piano and drums?


    In late 2022, a collection of previously undiscovered live jazz recordings was found by Mark and Craig Patterson. These recordings all have a common thread – they feature Dick Patterson, the father of Mark and Craig, playing bass alongside various artists. Until now, these recordings had never been made public, remaining unheard since their original performances.

    The initial release in this series is The Lost Chicago Tapes, a compilation of recordings from four nights of performances by the Dick Patterson Trio. These recordings provide a unique window into the musical talents of the three musicians, as they perform classic songs by artists like Monk, Davis, Parker, Ellington, Strayhorn, Carmichael, Lerner & Loewe, Gershwin, Rodgers & Hart and many others.

    Containing a total of 48 tunes, including multiple takes from different nights, The Lost Chicago Tapes offers a glimpse into the vibrant Chicago jazz scene of the 1960s. Produced by Mark Patterson, a well-respected figure in the jazz world, and mastered by Craig Patterson, owner of PME Records, this project is a family endeavour. One aspect the Patterson brothers regret is the lack of information about the pianist and drummer who played alongside Dick Patterson during these recordings. The tape labels simply read “Trio – Chicago,” with one tape featuring the notation “November 24, 1962 – Highwood.” Highwood is a suburb on the north side of Chicago, but he venue is unknown.

    The Pattersons are eager to acknowledge the other two musicians and are seeking the assistance of aficionados with knowledge of early 1960s Chicago jazz musicians. They have created a video on YouTube to explain their situation, and the four-album set is now available on various streaming platforms, including Bandcamp.

    By the late 1950s, Dick Patterson had become a prominent figure on the Chicago club scene. In 1963, he relocated to Colorado with his young family, embarking on a new phase of his career. This time around, he played with renowned artists like Clark Terry, The Pointer Sisters, Johnny Smith, Peanuts Hucko, Jerry Lewis, Spike Robinson, Neil Bridge, Stew Jackson, Dean Bushnell, Bob Montgomery, Claude Thornhill, George Gobel, and Dave and Don Grusin, among many others. The 1960s marked a golden era for jazz in Denver, and Dick Patterson played a important role, performing up to six nights a week for several decades while supporting fellow musicians on their journeys to success.

    However, his own artistry was often overshadowed by his dedication to others. More tapes from his career are set to be released soon, inviting audiences to join in this exploration of musical history.

    This article was prepared with the assistance of Mark and Craig Patterson