Bill Dixon

Bill Dixon has been a driving force in the advancement of contemporary American Black Music for more than 45 years. His pioneering work as a musician and organizer in the early 1960’s helped lay the foundation for today’s creative improvised music scene in New York and beyond. In 1964, he founded the all-star artists collective, the Jazz Composers’ Guild, and produced and organized The October Revolution in Jazz, an unprecedented New York festival that helped put the so-called “new thing” on the cultural map.

A mentor to countless musicians, through both his teaching and his role as a producer for Savoy Records, Dixon turned his focus to education in the late 1960’s, serving for nearly 30 years on the faculty at the prestigious Bennington College, where he founded the historic Black Music Division in 1973.

With the notable exception of Cecil Taylor’s Conquistador (Blue Note), Dixon has recorded almost exclusively as a leader since 1962, most frequently for the Soul Note label in the 1980’s and 90’s. Still a prolific composer at age 82, his work as a composer and improvisor can also be heard on the critically acclaimed February 2008 CD, Bill Dixon with the Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey), and in July 2008 he recorded a new collection of original music with an all-star nonet for the Firehouse 12 label.

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound is pure Dixon, massive in scale and rigorous in execution...this is not a mere concert souvenir, but a significant statement. Dixon’s music is about the process of its becoming; while its expansions into dense, eventful fanfares and contractions into hushed, detailed dialogues may be scripted, the sound of the music is group improvisations go, this one is remarkable for its poise and’s about great players subsuming their identities into an ensemble.
—Bill Meyer, DownBeat

...Dixon has fashioned a work around which new formal paradigms will need to be constructed. Dixon’s music explodes category: it is neither free nor through-composed, though elements of both approaches are often discernible

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Photos (33)


Cecil Taylor e Bill Dixon: esce l'inedito in studio del 1992

Cecil Taylor e Bill...

Triple Point Records

Intents And Purposes

Intents And Purposes

International Phonograph Inc.




Bill Dixon: Tapestries for Small Orchestra

Bill Dixon:...

Firehouse 12 Records




Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
saxophone, alto
Jimmy Giuffre Jimmy Giuffre
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
saxophone, tenor
Don Cherry Don Cherry
Evan Parker Evan Parker
Tim Berne Tim Berne
Steve Lacy Steve Lacy
saxophone, soprano
Joe McPhee Joe McPhee

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