Roger Dickerson went to a lot of gigs throughout his adult life, but in his last 20 years he was most likely driving someone else there than playing. A fine trumpeter who performed at many St. Louis theatres beginning around 1918, Dickerson wound up a cab driver in New York City and died of a throat ailment. He first became known nationally as a member of Wilson Robinson's Bostonians, the band that in 1923 provided the travel fare to get him out of St. Louis. This was the same group, with the violinist Andrew Preer in command, that became the house band at New York City's Cotton Club.
In the spring of 1927 Preer died, resulting in leadership coups within the group as well as name changes on the marquee. The ensemble was formalized as the Cotton Club Orchestra, but then changed loyalties to The Missourians. In 1939 a new leader stepped into the picture and the air would soon fill with songs of reefer and moochers named Minnie. That was Cab Calloway, with whom Dickerson lasted exactly one year. Soon thereafter he left full-time music and began the ritual of looking into people's eyes and asking
"Where to, Mac?" He was not related to the younger Roger Dickerson, a pianist who appears on recordings with his brother Dwight Dickerson in the '90s.