LaBudde Special Collections | Dave E. Dexter, Jr. Collection
SCOPE AND CONTENT OF COLLECTION
Sound recordings from this collection are housed in the Marr Sound Archives, the audio division of Special Collections. Much of the audio material is listed in the UMKC Library Catalog using the author search: Dave Dexter Collection.
He studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was president of Sigma Delta Chi and a member of the Delta Upsilon social fraternity. During the summer of 1936, Dexter was hired as a reporter by the Kansas City Journal-Post. In 1938, he joined Downbeat magazine in Chicago and was later transferred to New York. He left Downbeat after four years.
For a short period, Dexter wrote scripts for a weekly network radio program featuring Jimmy Dorsey's Orchestra before moving to Los Angeles, where he joined newly-established Capitol Records in 1943. During his three-decade service to Capitol Records, he was in charge of artists and repertoire, and he was eventually promoted to Executive Producer for Artists and Repertoire in 1967. In 1955, Dexter began traveling around the world assembling over 400 albums of representative national and ethnic music under the title Capitol of the World. He also served as editor to the Capitol News, a monthly magazine of the record company. He left Capitol Records in 1975. In the same year, Dexter became chief copy editor of Billboard while also producing records and liner notes for various independent labels.
Dexter was a well-known music critic and record producer, as well as a prolific writer. He brought such big name artists as Frank Sinatra, Stan Kenton, Peggy Lee and the Beatles to Capitol Records.
He also produced the original recording of Duke Ellington's Satin Doll. After his work with Capitol, Dexter wrote numerous magazine articles as well as record liner notes for various labels. His extensive writing also produced three important books on jazz. In 1975, he became advisor to the Veterans Administration, producing Here's to Veterans, a long-running radio show which aired for many years over 3000 radio stations. In addition to his other activities, Dexter composed several jazz tunes, most of which were released under pseudonyms.
Although Dexter spent most of his life in Hollywood, he never forgot his roots in Kansas City. As a music critic, he wrote several articles on Kansas City jazz that helped to spread the fame of Count Basie, Jay McShann and many others. In 1949 while working at Capitol, he began returning to Kansas City where he produced recordings of Julia Lee. During these visits he usually stayed with his parents who lived on Windsor Avenue. In 1986, Kansas City Mayor Richard Berkley and the Kansas City Jazz Commission honored Dexter with a citation plaque for his contributions to Kansas City jazz.
In additional to music, Dexter was an avid baseball and football fan. He served as a founder, coach and president of the Encino (California) Little League, editor of the UCLA Bruin Bench and president of the Birmingham High School Dads Club Executive Board. Dave Dexter, Jr. died April 19, 1990, in Sherman Oaks, California.
LaBudde Special Collections | UMKC Miller Nichols Library | 5100 Rockhill Road | Kansas City, MO 64110
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