Firehouse 12 Records To Release Bill Dixon’s New Three-Disc Set November 17th

September 1, 2009
Photo by Nick Ruechel

Photo by Nick Ruechel

On November 17th, Firehouse 12 Records will release eminent trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon‘s Tapestries for Small Orchestra (FH12-04-03-008), a three-disc set that includes two audio CDs of new original music plus a DVD featuring video footage of the session and a documentary film. Made possible in part by a grant from the LEF Foundation‘s Contemporary Work Fund, and the support of the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music), this project documents the three-day recording process at Firehouse 12’s state of the art recording studio from start to finish, offering unprecedented access into Dixon’s creative process.

The session, which produced eight new tracks, features Dixon (trumpet and electronics), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, flugelhorn, bass and piccolo trumpets), Graham Haynes (cornet, flugelhorn and electronics), Stephen Haynes (trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn), Rob Mazurek (cornet and electronics), Glynis Lomon (violincello), Michel Côté (contrabass clarinet and bass clarinet), Ken Filiano (double bass and electronics) and Warren Smith (vibraphone, marimba, drums, tympani and gongs).

In his liner notes for this recording, Stephen Haynes writes, “Dixon’s work as an instrumentalist and composer is informed and infused by an extended view of narrative—both the sense of the long line (extensions of playing ‘across the bar lines’) and in the broader arena of orchestration and arrangement. Listen closely to the work in this new recording and you will hear melodies that move by so slowly that they begin to transmute from the horizontal into the vertical. We are not simply talking about a minimalist approach, but one that profoundly embraces and inhabits the notion that less is indeed more: a single note as a symphony.”

He adds, “Few practitioners (even amongst the ‘influenced generation’) have understood and/or evidenced this core aspect of Dixon’s music: his singular sense of time (as an individual voice and in the ensemble context) and his way of organizing the music (composition). This is not a soloist’s music: there is no emphasis on the individual as being separate or distinct from the sonic whole. Indeed a Tapestry, the listener will discover a weaving of the individual as orchestra into a suite for multiple improvising orchestras. It is a layered creative world made up of nine carefully chosen musicians, offering a new window into the wonderful vision of one uniquely American artist: Bill Dixon.”

The release of Tapestries for Small Orchestra comes at a time of renewed interest in Dixon and his music, thanks to a celebration of his lifetime of achievement by the Vision Festival in 2007 and notable recordings on the AUM Fidelity and Thrill Jockey labels in 2008. Although he will be 84 years old when this new set is released, he is still actively composing and performing, as well as continuing to inspire musicians with his distinctive style and innovative approach to his instrument.

“Dixon’s influence on the subsequent generations of brass improvisers is profound,” writes Bynum in his liner notes for the project. “The trumpet and cornet players on this album (Graham Haynes, Stephen Haynes, Rob Mazurek and myself) are but a few examples of his musical progeny, and even among the four of us, his influence manifests itself in strikingly diverse ways. None of us sound alike, nor do we sound like Dixon, but all of us clearly draw upon Dixon’s legacy in how we approach our horns.”

In addition to his impact as a musician and composer, Dixon has been a driving force in the advancement of contemporary American Black Music for more than 45 years. His pioneering work as an organizer in the early 60’s, with such groups as the Jazz Composers’ Guild, helped lay the foundation for New York’s current creative improvised music scene, and his nearly 30-year career in academia included the founding of Bennington College’s historic Black Music Division in 1973. He is also an accomplished visual artist, whose work has been exhibited around the world and graced many of his recordings, including this one. Learn more at

New Cadence Reviews

July 16, 2009

The Jul/Aug/Sep 2009 issue of Cadence arrived to subscribers this week, and with it a number of enthusiastic reviews of our clients’ recent recordings.

Here are a few highlights:

In his review of Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), Phillip McNally writes, “Using the blues and improvised melody, Fewell’s sextet creates something like a completely tonal yet free music…the results are solid, approachable and at the same time richly complex…I for one would love to catch this Variable Density Sound Orchestra live.”

“I unhestiatingly give Muse my highest recommendation,” declares David Kane in his review of The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra‘s second release. “She claims Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer as muses but, to my ear, she has already equaled and perhaps surpassed these august icons in sheer musical sophistication. It’s quite clear on the evidence of this recording that Ayn Inserto has a bright future ahead of her.”

Jay Collins calls David S. Ware’s Shakti (AUM Fidelity) “intensely personal, with a spiritual directness that looks to India, but, also, with an outcome that is surprisingly accessible. Ware remains faithful to his sense of purpose and direction, while also offering sounds that are palatable enough for folks that may have been overwhelmed by previous work.”

“This band has an impressively wide range of textures to draw upon,” explains Stuart Kremsky in his review of William Parker’s Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity). “The infectious and insistent rhythms of the ensemble draw you right in, and the pleasing density of the band keeps you there. Parker’s projects as a leader invariably result in some of the most rewarding and creative music being made by anyone, and this gem is no exception.”

William Parker CDs Reviewed At

April 2, 2009
Photo by Nick Ruechel

Photo by Nick Ruechel

John Bohannon’s new joint review of William Parker’s Double Sunrise Over Neptune (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity) and Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity) was posted yesterday at

Bohannon declares, “William Parker has the ability, talent, and scene support to put jazz back into the public consciousness on a wide level.”

Of Double Sunrise Over Neptune he writes, “The interaction between musicians to create a whole is unparalleled.”

He also calls the William Parker Quartet “quite possibly the greatest working quartet in jazz today.”

2008 Cadence Record Poll

January 15, 2009

The Jan/Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Cadence arrived yesterday and with it the results of the magazine’s annual Record Poll.

Bill Dixon’s 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity) earned the fourth place slot in the Readers’ Choices Poll (only nine votes behind the winner three slots above), as well as a full-page review further on in that same issue written by Jason Bivins.

Bivins wrote, “Put briefly, this group doesn’t once (collectively or individually) commit the cardinal sin of large ensemble group improv: overplaying.  Rather, they listen, leave space and make each dynamic shift count as they realize Dixon’s dark musical vision.  That vision emerges in great detail, thanks firstly to a quite rich and colorful score, but also thanks to a very clear recording.”

In the Critics’ Choices Poll, for which contributors choose their 10 favorite releases covered in one of the magazine’s four 2008 issues, Jay Collins picked Mario Pavone’s Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings) and Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown (482 Music), Michael Coyle chose Eri Yamamoto’s Duologue (AUM Fidelity), and Michael Rosenstein selected Peter Evans’ The Peter Evans Quartet (Firehouse 12 Records). 

Congratulations to the clients listed above and all those recognized in the poll results.

Avant Music News Ranks Mary Halvorson and William Parker Among 2008’s Ten Best

December 23, 2008












Avant Music News has named the Mary Halvorson Trio’s Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12), William Parker’s Double Sunrise Over Neptune (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity) and the William Parker Quartet’s Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity) to its Top 10 list for 2008.