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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon Orchestra: Intents And Purposes

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At last Bill Dixon's almost mythical Intents And Purposes sees the light of day once again. The only sadness is that the trumpeter died in June 2010 before his monumental early masterpiece could resurface. Painstakingly transferred from the two-track masters, the disc is lovingly presented as a facsimile of the original LP with the album cover and liner notes duplicated and the CD, in an inner sleeve, sporting the RCA Victor label. Dixon is on record as saying that he would rather it never be reissued if it couldn't be done with the relevant amount of fidelity to the philosophy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bill Dixon Orchestra: Intents And Purposes

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Intents And Purposes has long been revered as Bill Dixon's singular masterpiece. Out of print for years, the late trumpet innovator's magnum opus has been lovingly remastered and reissued on CD, by International Phonograph Inc., in a deluxe mini-LP styled package that replicates the original 1967 issue, providing an important opportunity to reevaluate this seminal work. Since his decisive involvement in 1964's October Revolution in Jazz and lengthy tenure at Bennington College in Vermont (1968-1995), Dixon has been renowned for his skills as an organizer and an educator rather than his pioneering advancements as an instrumentalist and composer. ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Bill Dixon: Excerpts from Vade Mecum

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Introduction by AAJ Contributor Clifford Allen.

It is rare in the climate of this music to be presented with a view of an artist that is truly multifaceted, even though the collected works of most artists operate at a number of levels and, on occasion, in a number of media. Bill Dixon is probably best known as a trumpeter and composer; he is also a visual artist, professor (Bennington College, 1968-1996), and has created an expansive body of written material, only a small amount of which have been published. These writings include journals, letters, lectures, and short pieces that, in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon: Tapestries for Small Orchestra

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Back in 2007 Firehouse 12 Records announced itself in an audacious declaration of intent with release of Anthony Braxton's 9 CD+DVD box set Nine Compositions 2006. Now in a move of similar ambition the label has gone someway to redressing the imbalance in composer/trumpeter Bill Dixon's recorded output, with this handsome two CD + DVD set which is undoubtedly one of the events of the year. It follows hot on the heels of two other important orchestral works in a 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur (Aum Fidelity, 2008) and Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2007), but surpasses ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Bill Dixon: Tapestries for Small Orchestra

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Bill Dixon Tapestries For Small Orchestra Firehouse 12 2007

When this double-CD/single-DVD set hits the market in November 2009, trumpeter Bill Dixon will be 84 years old. In an ideal world--and on the basis of this release that's the world Dixon inhabits--age wouldn't be an issue. His work is that of a questing spirit not in thrall to the ageing process. Dixon's life and music were celebrated at the Vision Festival in 2007, but both are still in a state of evolution and progress.

The ensemble assembled here deserves all the plaudits it should ...

INTERVIEWS

Bill Dixon: In Medias Res

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Trumpeter and composer Bill Dixon is one of those rare figures in creative music who was both there as it took its initial steps and currently remains at the forefront of contemporary improvisation. In the last two years, he has directed or co-led orchestral configurations and recorded and performed with hand-picked small groups of international renown. The modern brass language and its expansion of vocal sounds into areas hitherto rarely occupied by any instrument certainly are reflected in Dixon's years of solo work and sculpting of sound.

Chapter Index Prologue Early History Teaching, Mentoring and the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon: 17 Musicians in Search Of A Sound: Darfur

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Unlike bassist Henry Grimes, Bill Dixon was never lost. Maybe his absence over the last 15 years was because he didn't want to be found. After the trumpeter, born in 1925, pioneered the New Thing jazz of the 1960s, including the October Revolution festival and the Jazz Composer's Guild, he dropped from the spotlights to teach for 30 years at Bennington College. While his recorded output has been spotty, adventurous listeners certainly treasure Vade Mecum I (1994) and II (1996) and Papyrus Vol. 1 (1999), all on Italy's Soul Note Records.

While his horn wasn't heard, his influence ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon: 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur

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Trumpeter Bill Dixon works with an orchestral conception, even when playing solo, so it is fascinating to hear what happens when he has 17 musicians at his disposal. Dixon first came to prominence as the organizer of the 1964 October Revolution in Jazz, and later taught at the prestigious Bennington College in a near 30 year tenure. Few of his large ensemble works have made it to disc, but this piece, commissioned by Arts For Arts, and recorded on its premiere at the 2007 Vision Festival follows closely after Dixon's recent work with Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon: 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur

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If there's an opposite of aging that isn't growing ever youthful then Bill Dixon's got it. It comes here in music of infinite color, played by an ensemble entirely empathetic with his aims and intentions yet still capable of putting some personal stamp on it. As such it gets to grips, in no uncertain terms, with one of the perennial paradoxes of creative music.

It's clear, on something like “In Search Of A Sound," that instrumental color must have been one of Dixon's abiding concerns. He summons up static blocks of sound comprised of individual voices in the service of ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Bill Dixon: In Rehearsal, In Performance

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"Composition is the assembling of musical materials that are generally accessible to every musician and their placement into a new order."

“Improvisation is the instantaneous realization of composition without the benefits or demerits of change or alteration." --Trumpeter/Composer Bill Dixon on Composition and Improvisation.

“Don't just jump in--don't play right away." Bill Dixon's rich baritone voice quieted the assembled musicians without ever rising above a mezzoforte. “Listen to the note you're tuning to before you start to play--I mean really listen to it."

The rehearsal had barely begun, and the concert was only hours ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra: Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra

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Prolific bandleader Rob Mazurek follows his 2007 Exploding Star Orchestra debut, We Are All From Somewhere Else, with this landmark vehicle for the legendary yet elusive Bill Dixon. Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra is a sprawling meeting of minds, as Dixon fronts a thirteen-piece ensemble on a set designed especially for him. At the height of his expressive powers, Dixon's signature trumpet tones are scrawled all over the album's lengthy suites with masterful artistry.

“Entrances/One" and “Entrances/Two," both written and arranged with spontaneous conducting by Dixon, follow similar paths while offering distinctive experiences. Instruments are constantly in flux, overlapping ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon: Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra

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The arrival of a new recording featuring an extremely rare appearance by legendary trumpeter Bill Dixon is reason enough for celebration. When said album also features cornetist Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, the rewards are twofold. Bill Dixon came to prominence organizing the 1964 October Revolution in Jazz, while simultaneously co-founding the Jazz Composers Guild, featuring fellow visionaries like Paul Bley, Sun Ra, and Archie Shepp. Despite his seminal beginnings, Dixon's discography has been sporadic, due to his lengthy professorship at Bennington College (1968-1996), which limited his touring and recording. Retiring in 1996 to run independent workshops and ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Bill Dixon: The Morality of Improvisation

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Followers of improvised music are very good at expanding on the personalities of artists, and that oral tradition has certainly been aided by the musicians through a sort of 'educational mythology.' To be sure, the personalities of Miles, Trane, Cecil, Mingus and Ornette are fascinating and notable, but this interest in the men and their whims often comes at the expense of their work - in other words, the empirical aspect of what these men are doing and have done is lost among reading between those lines. To complicate matters further, what these people have done outside the realms of ...

MEGAPHONE

Bill Dixon: The Benefits of the Struggle

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By Bill Dixon I appreciate your interest in having me say some things that you can present in your paper to interested readers, readers that may be interested in my work, how I go about it, how I have existed, what my work means, how that work is arrived at and my general feelings as they relate to music and art and all of those things [everything in toto, if one really wants to look at it definitively] that relate to them. I thought things over and it had occurred to me that there ...



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