Bill Dixon

Solo Works (Odyssey)

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A labor of love, this marvelous self-produced six-disc set collects trumpeter Bill Dixon's previously unreleased solo recordings since the 1970s. (Actually, a few of the many tracks add minimal accompaniment.) The final disc presents highly intelligent, fascinating oral commentary by the trumpeter on his life and music. Included in the oversized box are booklets containing several essays by two critics and two former students, and a collection of Dixon's beautifully reproduced artwork in color. At the time of this release in 2001, the trumpeter and retired professor was in his late seventies and in peak form, both intellectually and artistically. While five hours of solo trumpet is exhausting to hear (it should never be attempted at a single sitting), there is no denying Dixon's original voice, individual style, and astonishing technique. Space plays an important role in his sound, the trumpeter knowing when to harness the power of silence. Purity of sound is another important element, Dixon's pristine tone a pure pleasure. Dixon occasionally adds reverb, giving his notes a slight echo. Other distinguishing characteristics include his use of the full range of the horn, from the pedal tones to the highest reaches, and his extraordinary use of breath, pushed through the horn at varying volumes. Granted, this is not easy listening, and there are few melodies or conventional signposts. Listening to all these hours of solo Dixon takes self-discipline and might be compared to hearing a long postmodern poetry recital. But, for those willing to make the effort, and who can appreciate the contributions of an extraordinary talent, this boxed set will bring endless hours of pleasure.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 8:15
2 1:14
3 1:22
4 7:44
5 2:42
6 5:00
7 8:05
8 5:28
9 2:52
10 0:43
11 0:59
12 8:28
13 9:00
14 5:44
15 2:29
16 5:07
17 8:38
18 0:59
19 5:35
20 6:46
21 3:09
22 6:11
23 9:51
24 2:54
25 2:52
26 3:57
27 6:34
28 0:57
29 26:50
30 11:31
31 4:08
32 4:37
33 8:13
34 1:51
35 5:56
36 4:22
37 1:01
38 1:04
39 1:40
40 2:39
41 6:25
42 1:18
43 2:06
44 1:34
45 3:56
46 1:36
47 4:22
48 1:48
49 5:26
50 3:59
51 9:41
52 2:10
53 2:45
54 3:21
55 4:35
56 6:20
57 5:53
58 1:47
59 7:17
60 1:50
61 6:00
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