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Papyrus, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Perhaps the most underrated trumpeter in all of jazz, Bill Dixon has forged a unique style that relies as much on space and silence as it does on sound. Yet, his music is far from that of minimalism, as he simply makes every note count. For this recording he is paired with percussionist Tony Oxley, who shares the trumpeter's predilection for sensitivity. Both of these musicians are too smart to attempt to impress with flurries of notes or astonishing technique (though both are capable of doing so); instead, the joys compare to those of a fine wine: subtle and fulfilling. All 12 pieces are fully improvised, yet filled with melodic wonders. The music requires the listener to pay close attention, but the rewards are there. Dixon plays piano on several tracks, and his approach with the keys aptly mirrors his trumpet playing — and provides additional pleasure.


Born: October 5, 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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Papyrus, Vol. 1, Bill Dixon
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