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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.

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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 not...as group improvisations go, this one is remarkable for its poise and balance....it’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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