Bill Dixon Chamber Orchestra Redux
Vision Festival 2007
Aside from the exceedingly pleasurable experience of working with Bill and the ensemble (more on this later) to realize this new music, the past week has brought one particular thought persistently to mind: where are the reviews, the commentaries, the documentation that one expects to accompany such an historical event?
We were fortunate enough to receive a thoughtful preview piece in the NY Times thanks to Ben Ratliff, who spoke with Bill by phone in Vermont and did a wonderful job of utilizing Bill's voice to tell the story of intent, publishing a beautiful black and white image of Bill-this in tandem with Hank Shteamer's generous 'backstage" interview (conducted in Vermont) of Bill for TimeOut New York. Passing commentary is offered by Larry Blumenfeld in the Village Voice. Nate Chinen's thoughtful appreciation of the concert premier (most writers still struggle to accurately describe Bill's trumpet sound and technique, I suppose a measure/testimony to Bill's sonic singularity) has been the only review devoted solely to the piece that I have found to date in the mainstream press.
The silence has been shameful and somewhat puzzling. If one believes in the notion of the "community" in this music, one wonders who has chosen not to comment and why. Food for thought.
What is reassuring in all this is that the concert was recorded for release, and that Bill is engaged in the process of evaluating the raw recordings from the performance. A number of folks, arguably the true collegial community, have begun to share reflections and gathered quotes from Bill and we await postings of the images captured by the numerous photographers that were there engaged in collective witness that evening, to accompany those taken by Peter Gannushkin and just posted on the Downtown Music Gallery site. For that matter, the tireless Music Witness, Jeff Schlanger, was hard at it while the sound was being created.
In the end, the sound and spirit of the work are held in the hearts and minds of the audience, who leapt to their feet in thunderous applause at the conclusion of the performance, and in the cellular structure of the ensemble. On that note, a number of us hope to continue the work with Bill. More on that later.
Time to speak up folks. And the response needs to be as definitively articulate, passionate and aesthetically informed as the music and it's creator, Bill Dixon.