Double Bill // Double Vision

Vade Mecum Series II, by Bill Dixon.


Bill Dixon
Vade Mecum II
Soul Note : 1996

BD, trumpet, flugelhorn; Barry Guy, bass; William Parker, bass; Tony Oxley, drums.

On Wednesday night (20 June), at the Vision Festival in New York, Bill Dixon will be celebrated and honored for his lifetime in music — as teacher, organizer, performer, artist. At 7:30pm (or so), Dixon will premiere a new work for large group, the Sound Vision Orchestra, featuring, among others, Graham Haynes, Taylor Ho Bynum, Steve Swell, Joe Daley, J. D. Parran, Karen Borca, Warren Smith, and Jackson Krall. It promises to be a splendid event.

From the Vision Festival appreciation of Dixon, by Ben Young:

Dixon’s activities and profile are guided by ideals uncommon in the field today — specifically, his insistence on the dignity of art as separate from entertainment and commerce. Dixon’s fastidiousness in choosing when and what to record has made his work singular and highly prized.

Dignity and fastidiousness are two good words to use in association with Dixon, and both of these qualities are in ample evidence in the two tracks above, from the vaunted Vade Mecum sessions. Brian Olewnick in his positive review of this album links it to Conquistador (though for some reason Unit Structures is name-checked), the Cecil Taylor Blue Note disc that featured Dixon on trumpet. This in turn took us back to John Litweiler’s take, in The Freedom Principle, on Dixon’s playing from this date:

[Dixon’s] trumpet solo in “With (Exit)” is almost classically contoured, in contrast with Taylor’s kind of complexity, over a driving tempo. The long tones that begin and end this Dixon solo enforce his distance from the rhythm section’s intensity, but most of the solo is fugitive rips and spits of sound, in which motives appear and dissolve, joining and accentuating the accompanist’s great aggression. His specific lyricism in “Conquistador” is contrary to the flux of sounds and motives in the rest of Taylor’s music. Dixon is unique; Cecil Taylor seldom again had the advantage of an ensemble member who resisted him this well.

More apt phrases here, notably resistance. (We also love “fugitive rips.”) So much of what Dixon seems to be about is focused on resisting the easy answer, the predetermined lick, the natural brassiness and assertiveness of the trumpet, the sway and swell of the boiling rhythm section of, as above, Parker, Guy, and Oxley. His motto becomes something a lot like the exact opposite of “resistance is futile.”

For more on Dixon, you’ll want to join The Dixon Society, already in progress. Also Hank Shteamer‘s brief but informative interview in the current Time Out New York. And doubtless you’ll want to catch the show at the Angel Orensanz Foundation. See you there.

& & &

Here’s the rest of the Vision Festival line-up, for the link-lazy:

Venue: Angel Orensanz Foundation
172 Norfolk Street, New York (just south of Houston St.)

Wednesday June 20 — Bill Dixon Lifetime Recognition
Poet/Host Barry Wallenstein
7:00 Barry Wallenstein and Friends
Barry Wallenstein vocals, poetry / Daniel Carter reeds, trumpet / special guests TBA
7:30 Bill Dixon with the Sound Vision Orchestra â?? World Premiere
Bill Dixon trumpet, compositions
Graham Haynes trumpet / Stephen Haynes trumpet / Taylor Ho Bynum cornet / Dick Griffin trombone / Steve Swell trombone / Joe Daley tuba / Andrew Raffo Dewar soprano saxophone / Michel Cote reeds / J.D. Parran reeds / Will Connell, Jr. reeds / John Hagen reeds / Karen Borca bassoon / Glynis Lomon cello / Andrew Lafkas double bass / Warren Smith vibraphone, percussion / Jackson Krall percussion
9:30 Co-Pilots: Henry Grimes with Marilyn Crispell and Rashied Ali
Henry Grimes bass / Marilyn Crispell piano / Rashied Ali drums
10:30 Survival Unit III
Joe McPhee reeds, flügelhorn / Fred Lonberg-Holm cello / Michael Zerang drumsÂ

Thursday June 21
Poet/Host Alexandre Pierrepont
6:00 New York — Paris Poetry
Tribes, New York
Miguel Algarin, Steve Cannon, Steve Dalachinsky, Post Midnight, Ishle Park
The Weavers, Paris
Thomas Gilson, Mathias Gross, Alexandre Pierrepont, Laurence Pierrepont, Daniel Vassaux
7:30 Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble — Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler
David Young trumpet / Nicole Mitchell flute / David Boykin reeds / Justin Dillard piano / Tomeka Reid cello / Josh Abrams bass / Arveeayl Ra drums / Marcus Evans drums / Mankwe Ndosi vocals
8:30 Hardcell
Tim Berne alto saxophone / Craig Taborn piano / Tom Rainey drums
9:30 Local Lingo
Jason Kao Hwang violin, viola, compositions / Sang Won Park ajang, kayagum, voice
10:30 Jayne Cortez and The Firespitters
Jayne Cortez poetry / Bern Nix guitar / special guests TBA / Al MacDowell bass / Denardo Coleman drums

Friday June 22
Poet/Host David Budbill
5:30 Panel Discussion Part I — Art in America: A Grassroots Struggle
7:00 50 Violins for Leroy Jenkins
Memorial tribute led by Billy Bang, coordinated by Jason Kao Hwang
7:30 Matthew Shipp Solo Piano
8:30 Roy Campbell’s Ahkenaten Suite — World Premiere
Roy Campbell trumpet / Billy Bang violin / Bryan Carrott vibraharp / Hilliard Greene bass / Zen Matsuura drums
9:30 Dance/Music/Art Installation “A State of Mind” by Patricia Nicholson
Dance: Miriam Parker, Julia Wilkins, Gus Solomons, jr
Music: Lewis Barnes, Rob Brown, William Parker, Hamid Drake
Artists: Amir Bey, Jo Wood Brown, Katie Martin, Kazuko Miyamoto, Phyllis Bulkin-Lehrer, Lili White
10:15 Fred Anderson Trio
Fred Anderson tenor saxophone / Harrison Bankhead bass / Hamid Drake drums
11:15 Spindrift for Leroy Jenkins
Myra Melford piano, melodica / Mark Taylor French horn / Brandon Ross guitars / Shuni Tsou di-zi

Saturday Afternoon June 23
2:00 Michael Bisio Quartet
Stephen Gauci winds / Avram Fefer winds / Michael Bisio bass / Jay Rosen percussion
3:00 SYNERGY Sight and Sound
Amir Bey costumes, set design / Saco Yasuma alto saxophone, compositions / Ras Moshe reeds / Dave Ross guitar / Christopher Dean Sullivan bass / Lou Grassi drums
4:00 Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone
Mary Halvorson guitar, vocals / Jessica Pavone viola, vocals
5:00 Corey Wilkes Quintet
Corey Wilkes trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals / Kevin Nabors tenor saxophone / Junuis Paul bass / Isaiah Spencer drums / Jumaane Taylor dance

Saturday Night June 23
Poet/Host David Budbill
7:30 Ganelin Trio Priority
Vyacheslav Ganelin piano, synthesizer, percussion / Petras Vysniauskas soprano sax / Klaus Kugel drums, percussion
8:30 Eddie Gale All-Star Band
Eddie Gale trumpet / Prince Lasha reeds / Kidd Jordan tenor saxophone / Valerie Mih piano / William Parker bass / Alvin Fielder drums / Patricia Nicholson dance
9:30 Rob Brown Quartet
Rob Brown alto saxophone / Lewis Barnes trumpet / Todd Nicholson bass / Guillermo E. Brown drums
10:30 Whit Dickey Trio
Sabir Mateen reeds / Todd Nicholson bass / Whit Dickey drums
11:30 Amiri and Amina Baraka’s Blue Ark
Amiri Baraka poetry / Amini Baraka poetry, vocals / Dwight West vocals / Rene McLean reeds / Adegoke Steve Colson piano / Curtis Lundy bass / Pheeroan akLaff drums

Sunday June 24
Poet/Host Alexandre Pierrepont
3:30 Panel Discussion Part II — What Is “Serious” Music or Art?
5:00 T.E.C.K. String 4tet
Tomas Ulrich cello / Elliott Sharp acoustic guitars / Carlos Zingaro violin / Ken Filiano double bass
6:00 Hamid Drake now
Hamid Drake drums / Paolo Angeli prepared guitar / Sabir Mateen reeds / Patricia Nicholson dance
7:00 Thomas Buckner Trio
Thomas Buckner vocals / Jerome Bourdellon flute / Roscoe Mitchell reeds
8:00 Daniel Levin Quartet
Daniel Levin cello / Nate Wooley trumpet / Joe Morris bass / Matt Moran vibraphone
9:00 Louis Moholo and Friends
Kidd Jordan tenor saxophone / Dave Burrell piano / William Parker bass / Louis Moholo drums

Category Bill Dixon

4 Responses to Double Bill // Double Vision

  1. Hi- Thanks for the Bill Dixon; remarkably intense without skronk as usual. Thanks too for posting that Vision Festival schedule…some of it reads like a dream a fan of new music might have. What jumped out at me was Louis Moholo-Moholo’s group, the Thomas Buckner thing, the Rob Brown Quartet, the Corey Wilkes group, and Henry Grimes with Marilyn Crispell and Rashied Ali…and that Jayne Cortez lineup. The whole thing looks amazing. How cool would it be if the Vision Festival could go on tour. And how much money it would take….in the richest country in the world…where there’s just not enough money….


  2. veeeeery tasty … thanks guys

    these two albums have been “on a list” for a few years now but i still don’t have them.

    the sound is every bit as deep and as fascinating as the line-up makes one hope it would be. i definitely need to get these albums!

  3. Peter — Well put about the intensity of Dixon minus the skronk. And all too true about the Vision Fest being able to tour. As someone who used to live in NYC and now has more limited access to live free jazz, I totally share your dream. In a more perfect world, there should be a touring Vision company that travels to more out of the way places where the people are starved for adventurous music! Where is the sponsorship for this?! Where are the grants for this?! Ah well.

    Centrifuge – Glad you dig the Dixon! You guys have been a real tear recently over at the Church. Especially great stuff.

  4. Hi- re: The Vision Festival. I’ve been reading a few things on the webwire indicating displeasure with the event, with the lineup and so on. I’m not sure I understand where that’s coming from. Other than, of course, a general sense of the events in the Festival just not being someone’s cup of tea. Anyone have background on why the Vision Festival is a target for dissatisfaction?