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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Bill Dixon - 'Collection' (Cadence)

There's a major problem with my copy of Bill Dixon's Collection, and that's disc 1 is actually disc 2. Though the printing on the face indicates that it is in fact the first disc, it's actually a second copy of disc 2. Which means that when I look at the track listing, I can only wonder what solo trumpet magic must occur on tracks such as 'The Long Walk', 'Tracings II', and 'When Winter Comes'. So instead, I'll listen to disc two twice. This is all solo trumpet, recorded in the mid-70s, and it shows all sides of Mr. Dixon. We get a bluesy, expressionistic Dixon on 'The Long Line' and an abstract, elliptical one on 'Swirls'. There's some percussion accompaniment on 'Summerdance or Judith Dunn - Pt. One', and this cavernous sound recalls some hip 1960's sci-fi soundtrack, or some Eurospy flick. It's a highlight - despite the rumbling drums, it's still very much Dixon's show, and some of squawks and shrieks are purely NWW-list sounding. Dixon's more soft, wooly recordings are preferable to the straight-ahead production, when the mic is places more close. I have quite a few records of solo saxophone, solo drums, etc on these shelves and while I rarely get the urge to pull them out, I'm always drawn to them conceptually - from a free/improv/jazz angle, the solo record is the ultimate statement (even if you make a bunch of them), as well as a uniquely egotistic thing. This is what I do, and here it is without any dressing. It's a bit brave, but also focused. 30 years later Greg Kelley will mine similar territory, and I'm sure Dixon's work is somewhat of an influence. This CD is plainly packaged and I always forget I have it (and definitely forgot about the missing disc 1) but there's a lot of beauty within.

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