Between 1921 and 1923, Dixon was a member of Johnny Dunn's Original Jazz Hounds, one of several Dunn-led lineups that recorded in New York around that time for the Columbia label. Dixon played in local ensembles in Boston and New York before becoming a member of Sam Wooding's orchestra in 1922. Wooding had been in Dunn's band at the same time. In 1923 he joined up with Fletcher Henderson, playing and writing arrangements for him until 1928 and continuing to write charts for Henderson after his departure. He played with Henderson in both small and big band formats, and recorded in Henderson's pseudonymous groups like the Dixie Stompers. Among the musicians he played with while under Wooding and Henderson were Kaiser Marshall, Louis Armstrong, Ralph Escudero, Coleman Hawkins, Don Redman, and Elmer Chambers. He also played in small ensembles accompanying singers such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Trixie Smith, and Alberta Hunter in the 1920s.
In the 1930s, he led a band which accompanied dancer Cora LaRedd, and arranged and composed for Chick Webb. Unlike most of the banjoists of his era, he never switched to guitar, and his banjo work is often difficult to hear on record.