The December issue of Point of Departure features a review of Bill Dixon’s new three-disc set, Tapestries for Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records), by Troy Collins, as well as a feature on the eminent trumpeter/composer by Art Lange.
“The minimalist ideal of the ‘single note as a symphony’ finds credence in these epic meditations when long tones are sustained across multiple bar lines,” Collins writes. “Elsewhere, Dixon punctuates dark, introspective atmospheres with rancorous activity, and coils ghostly harmonies into dense thickets of dissonance. Brought to life by these phenomenal players, Dixon’s orchestral approach to improvisation is further detailed in the DVD documentary, which includes interviews with Dixon and the ensemble, as well as footage of three complete performances and an alternate take of the brooding opener, ‘Motorcycle ’66: Reflections & Ruminations’…for Dixon aficionados and those interested in the endless possibilities of sound, there is a surfeit of remarkable music contained in this collection.”
Lange adds, “Tapestries is a powerful achievement. The title is especially appropriate, alluding to the separate instrumental fibers woven together, the almost tactile sense of texture, and an often complicated imagery (in visual terms, either representational or geometric). In these eight pieces there are, again, compositional strategies that trace back as far as the chamber music-like developmental resources in Intents And Purposes and resonate throughout Dixon’s recorded works—the lyrical melodic contours, primarily dark and introspective; fluctuating, intersecting ensemble details and rhythmic confluence; the poised flow balancing thematic focus and spontaneous, responsive incidents of energy—now expanded and intensified.”