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Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra

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Trumpeter Bill Dixon is a key figure in the history of free jazz who, as part of the Jazz Composers Guild and as a teacher, influenced a new generation of players. On 2008’s Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra he collaborates with the large, Chicago-based ensemble that is headed by the cornetist and composer Rob Mazurek. Dixon’s two compositions feature quicksilver solos standing out against the big sound created by band. (Dixon started out as a painter, and it’s easy to picture individual brush strokes standing out against a dense background.) The pieces shift gears in interesting ways: in one passage in “Entrances/Two,” the hypnotic rhythms of minimalism can be heard, making for a nice contrast to the massed sounds that precede it, and the eerie quietude that follows. The Mazurek-penned “Constellations for Innerlight Projections (For Bill Dixon)” opens with the orchestra accompanying Damon Locks intoning a text. Later in the piece, the orchestra creates great blasts of sound; at other times, artfully smeared and smudged brass tones emerge, along with mysterious thickets of dissonance.


Born: 05 October 1925 in Nantucket, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the seminal free jazz figures, Bill Dixon made his mark as a player, organizer, and educator in a career that spanned more than 50 years. Dixon was a jaggedly lyrical trumpeter -- his delivery was as vocalic as that of any free jazz trumpeter, except perhaps Lester Bowie. As an improviser, he was somewhat similar in temperament to Ornette Coleman, yet his compositional style differed greatly from the altoist. Dixon's work featured open space, wide intervals that did not imply a specific key...
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Bill Dixon With Exploding Star Orchestra, Bill Dixon
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