December 7, 2009
The new Critics’ Choice column in today’s New York Times features a review of Bill Dixon’s Tapestries for Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records) by Ben Ratliff.
“The low notes in Bill Dixon’s Tapestries for Small Orchestra loom like great whales,” he writes, “powering through the best of its long, patient, texture-obsessed performances. They’re played by double-bass and contrabass clarinet; above them floats a cloud of brass, directed and defined by Mr. Dixon’s own trumpet-playing. [He] has some deep and original thoughts about abstraction in music, and doesn’t leave beauty behind…a few of these pieces—especially ‘Motorcycle ’66: Reflections & Ruminations,’ ‘Adagio: Slow Mauve Scribblings’ and ‘Allusions I’—have a majesty for which you have to write in your own meaning.”
December 4, 2009
Bill Tilland reviews trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon’s Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records) in a new post on the BBC’s Web site.
“Both his compositions and his own playing tend to be very painterly,” he writes, “with extensive use of space and silence, tonal colours, instrumental juxtapositions and aural gestures: smears, burrs, squeaks, rasps and vocalisations. Each piece has a distinct texture, shape and sense of movement. The music defies classification and is sometimes ‘difficult’, but Dixon’s academic sensibilities are clearly energised by a soulful, passionate aesthetic.”
He adds, “Tapestries is not for the timid or intellectually complacent listener, but anyone prepared to meet Dixon’s music halfway will reap some significant rewards.”
December 3, 2009
Late in the day yesterday, Destination: Out posted its review of Tapestries for Small Orchestra, Bill Dixon’s new three-disc set on Firehouse 12 Records, and with it an exclusive download of an alternate take of the track “Motorcycle ’66”.
The review calls the set “thoroughly stunning” and goes on to add, “Dixon presents gorgeous, slow-moving tableaus, highlighting the range of sounds and textures that the trumpets and cornets can produce. Charged yet sedate, unhurried in the extreme yet never ponderous, it’s mature music that is all too aware of the passing of time; the passing of time is in part what this music is about.”
December 8, 2008
Legendary trumpeter/composer/educator Bill Dixon’s most recent release, 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity), is #19 on The Wire’s Top 50 of 2008 as listed in the January 2009 issue.
This live concert recording, the first collection of all original orchestral music released under Dixon’s name since 1967’s momentous Intents and Purposes (RCA Victor), documents the world premiere performance of the specially commissioned, hour-long titular work at Vision Festival XII in 2007.
Dixon’s AUM Fidelity label mate, William Parker, earned a spot on the magazine’s Best of 2008 list in the Jazz & Improv category for his own live orchestral recording, Double Sunrise Over Neptune, also specially commissioned by, and performed at, Vision Festival XII.
Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson’s highly acclaimed debut as a leader, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records), was also voted one of the year’s best in that category.
Congratulations to all the artists involved and those who helped make these recordings possible.