Reviews – BILL DIXON ..17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur...(AUM046)

DOWNBEAT: 4-stars review by Bill Meyer:
17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur is pure Dixon, massive in scale and rigorous in execution. Live recordings are gambles, and the stakes are higher when it's a one-off performance like this 2007 Vision Festival show. But neither sound nor execution suffers here; this is not a mere concert souvenier, but a significant statement. Dixon's music is about the process of becoming; while its expansions into dense, eventful fanfares and contractions into hushed, detailed dialogues may be scripted, the sound of the music is not. Even so, it's not about flailing in the dark--as group improvisations go, this one is remarkable for its poise and balance. Rather, it's about great players subsuming their identities into an ensemble. While there are some great solos, particularly by J.D. Parran, Karen Borca and the three cornetists, the way the music shifts and coalesces around their voices matters most."

* THE WIRE (July issue on stands now)
:  
8-page FEATURE ARTICLE by Phil Freeman
+ Audio of Phil Freeman’s interview with Bill is posted here:
http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/1126/
+ a fine review in same issue by Philip Clark: “ .. this expansive composition .. brings the Dixon methodology into such clear focus that the wax has been removed from my ears.”

DUSTED MAGAZINE
: “New music from Bill Dixon is always welcome. You don’t often hear the great trumpeter (and electronician, let’s not forget) in a large ensemble. ., It’s a very rich experience, and should be considered a must for Dixon freaks and fans of large ensemble improvisation alike.”

DESTINATION-OUT:  Lead post with mp3 / interview edit / many further links

ALL ABOUT JAZZ: “If there's an opposite of aging that isn't growing ever youthful then Bill Dixon's got it. It comes here in music of infinite color, played by an ensemble entirely empathetic with his aims and intentions yet still capable of putting some personal stamp on it. As such it gets to grips, in no uncertain terms, with one of the perennial paradoxes of creative music.”

ALL MUSIC GUIDE: “4 Star Review”

FREE JAZZ blog: “The end result is surely one of the musical highlights of the year. It is uncompromising, but clever, with a band of great musicians who play in an incredibly controlled and focused manner. .. It uses the orchestra to its full potential, creating true music, powerful, deeply emotional, coherent in the impactful listening experience it creates. Bill Dixon manages to create a wide array of musical emotions through playing with music's endless possibilities ..”

SOUNDSLOPE / Daniel Melnick:  essay on the creative process vis a vis this album.

WFMU Heavy Airplay/News 8/27/08
Jazz List

BILL DIXON - 17 Musicians In Search of a Sound (AUM Fidelity)
VARIOUS - Spiritual Jazz (Jazzman)
WILLIAM PARKER - Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity)
ORANGE - In the Midst of Chaos (DeStijl)
BJORKENHEIM/PARKER/DRAKE - DMG @ the Stone 12/26/06 (DMG/ARC)
EVIL EYE - Doin' It All For My Baby (KMB)
PILLARS & TONGUES - Sacred Architchture (The Lotus Sound)
ERI YAMAMOTO TRIO - Redwoods (AUM Fidelity)
BLOODCOUNT - Seconds (Screwgun)
LEE MORGAN - Delightfulee (Blue Note)

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur
Bill Dixon | AUM Fidelity Records - distr. Goodfellas (2008)
Enrico Bettinello

Tra i musicisti più originali e - tutto sommato - largamente sottovalutati nell'ambito del jazz meno convenzionale, il trombettista Bill Dixon [mitico agitatore della October Revolution in Jazz del 1964] ha trovato di recente, ormai ultraottantenne, una rinnovata visibilità, dapprima come ospite di Rob Mazurek e della sua Exploding Star Orchestra, ora con la riproposizione su disco di un lavoro commissionato dal New York State Music Fund e eseguito in occasione del Vision Festival del 2007.
Diciassette musicisti sotto la conduzione di Dixon, con un nutrito parco di ottoni in cui spiccano i nomi di Graham Haynes, Taylor Ho Bynum e Steve Swell, ma anche nomi di esperienza della scena impro newyorkese come la fagottista Karen Borca, i percussionisti Jackson Krall e Warren Smith o il multistrumentista J.D. Parran. Alle prese con i tredici “movimenti” [alcuni dei quali molto brevi, altri come “Sinopia”, di oltre venti minuti] di una suite dal titolo 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur.
Il riferimento al Darfur del titolo non tragga in inganno: non solo non c'è un particolare significato politico nella musica [in una intervista recente a The Wire lo stesso Dixon lo ribadisce, pur invitando alla riflessione a partire dalla musica e dal proprio dipinto riprodotto in copertina], ma nemmeno un riferimento etnico nel lessico sonoro della suite: il linguaggio di Dixon, non scevro da una certa severità, si muove piuttosto su coordinate di lenta costruzione timbrica, con le masse orchestrali che scuriscono e ombreggiano, più vicino negli esiti a quelli della musica contemporanea composta che non ai furori del free cui l'artista viene frettolosamente associato.
L'alternarsi di momenti rarefatti - sia come tessitura sonica che come organico - a altri di fluida pienezza è condotto con particolare sensibilità [e assecondato benissimo dai musicisti dell'orchestra], ma complessivamente il lavoro sembra risentire della mancanza di momenti davvero stranianti e suona un po' prevedibile. Il valore di Dixon non ne risente nemmeno un po', comunque.



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