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INTERVIEWS

Bill Dixon: An In-depth Look into the Accomplishments, Philosophies, and Convictions of the Man

Read "Bill Dixon: An In-depth Look into the  Accomplishments, Philosophies, and  Convictions of the Man" reviewed by Frank Rubolino

This interview was originally published at One Final Note in October 2002. When one reflects on the innovators who were fundamental in propelling the second wave of the new music movement in the 1960s, Bill Dixon's name always appears near the top of the list. His accomplishments as a musician and educator are vast, a small sampling of which includes his work as architect of the Jazz Composers' Guild in 1964; the formation of the Black Music Division ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Bill Dixon: Excerpts from Vade Mecum

Read "Bill Dixon: Excerpts from Vade Mecum" reviewed by AAJ Staff

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, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Dixon: Tapestries for Small Orchestra

Read "Tapestries for Small Orchestra" reviewed by John Sharpe

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 ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Bill Dixon: Tapestries for Small Orchestra

Read "Bill Dixon: Tapestries for Small Orchestra" reviewed by Nic Jones

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 ...

INTERVIEWS

Bill Dixon: In Medias Res

Read "Bill Dixon: In Medias Res" reviewed by Clifford Allen

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "17 Musicians in Search Of A Sound: Darfur" reviewed by Mark Corroto

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) ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur" reviewed by John Sharpe

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur" reviewed by Nic Jones

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 ...

PROFILES

Bill Dixon: In Rehearsal, In Performance

Read "Bill Dixon: In Rehearsal, In Performance" reviewed by Marc Medwin

"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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra" reviewed by Greg Camphire

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Dixon: Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra

Read "Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra" reviewed by Troy Collins

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 ...

PROFILES

Bill Dixon: The Morality of Improvisation

Read "Bill Dixon: The Morality of Improvisation" reviewed by Clifford Allen

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 ...


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