Bill Dixon: Berlin Abbozzi
Dixon’s work is unashamedly abstract, very much of itself and unlike the work of anyone else. The pieces all feature the trumpet floating above the shifting, restless rhythmic quilt laid down by the bassists and drummer. The power of Dixon’s conception is such that his trumpet acts as the unifying force holding together these disparate elements. His extemporised motifs unfold slowly with the inexorableness of shifting tectonic plates. But it is in the detail of the interactions between the musicians that the beauty of this music lies for me, like the muted trumpet echoed by a stroke of the bow on bass at 1’ 30” of ‘Currents’ or the re-entry of the trumpet above the loose bass/drum interplay, like a comet flashing in the night sky, at 10’ 30” in the same piece. Or to take another example, the end of ‘Open Quiet/The Orange Bell’ where a largely arco bass duet is joined by Oxley’s bowed cymbals and then distant trumpet, which gradually moves into the foreground playing muted, elegiac long tones.
The bass-playing of Koch and Bauer may be less virtuoso than William Parker and Barry Guy on the Vade Mecum sessions, but they are still responsible for many fine moments of interplay, such as the bass drone contrasting with the high register arco and pizzicato playing on ‘Open Quiet/The Orange Bell’. They are not afraid to both play in the same tonal area laying down a dense matrix of sound. Oxley’s playing is full of incandescent detail and miniaturist gesture, at times sounding like an accident in a sheet metal factory, then ticking nervously, insistently, urgently on cymbals. His solo on ‘Open Quiet/The Orange Bell’ is wonderful, full of space with the natural decay bringing to mind the echoing trumpet elsewhere.
This is an excellent disc easily recommended to anyone willing to immerse themselves in Bill Dixon’s sound world.
For more information about Bill Dixon, visit his website at http://www.sover.net/~wrdixon/
Track Listing: Berlin Abbozzi: Currents (21.39); Open Quiet/The Orange Bell (40.14), Acrolithes (16.48)
Personnel: Bill Dixon
Record Label: FMP Records
Style: Modern Jazz