Wednesday, June 16, 2010
RIP Bill Dixon
I wrote up a brief obituary for the Volume. I'm happy at least that Dixon's last years were extremely productive ones. I'll just say here that this man's music has given me enormous pleasure over the years. It was aural quicksand, the kind of thing you wanted to sink into. For pure sound worship, the revelation of texture, Dixon's best can't really be beat. As far as the records go, Vade Mecum--an early-'90s communion with three other audio painters, including the great Tony Oxley--is probably my favorite. Another indispensable Dixon document is Imagine the Sound.
When I interviewed Dixon in 2007, I began an Invisible Jukebox-style activity with him, where I played him a selection of un-ID'd records. The exercise quickly got sidetracked but I'll never forget listening to Booker Little's "Man of Words" with him. When the track--perhaps the most weighty ballad in the jazz literature--finished, Dixon simply said, "Play that again." I did, and when it was over, I asked him if he could identify the artist. "I'm not sure," he said. "But whoever that was has spent a lot of time studying the music of Booker Little."