Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bill Dixon Recording Residency
Firehouse 12/New Haven
Project Diary

July 9, 2008
Yesterday’s schedule of transportation had a few bumps along the way. Warren’s car broke down somewhere outside of Bridgeport. Fortunately, Taylor and Graham were enroute and able to pull over and meet Warren. The percussion equipment was loaded into Taylor’s already crowded coupe along with Anton, Warren’s assistant, carted to Firehouse 12 and offloaded. Later, Taylor drove back and collected Warren.

Bill had a productive morning with Nick, and succeeded in setting up his equipment and blocking the stations for all of the ensemble members. The recording contract was also discussed in some detail.

Meanwhile, I made two airport runs. First, picking up Rob, who came back to my house for a late lunch of buffalo mozzarella with basil and olive oil and a few glasses of pinot grigio. We had a long conversation about our shared desire to create performing opportunities for this ensemble (or some variation of it) and Bill during the coming season.

We realized that Sharon (Bill’s partner) has a birthday coming soon. On the way back to the airport, we stopped at Mozzicato Di Paquale Bakery on Franklin Avenue in Hartford's South End to pick up the previously-ordered cake (forgot to mention yesterday was Rob’s birthday), adding Sharon’s name to it, and then swung over to Spiritus Wines to get a bottle of calvados as a gift.

We collected Michel (resplendent in blue tropical shorts) and Isabell and drove down to New Haven with Ruben Blades (Mundo) and Dizzy Gillespie (Old and New) on the box. We all agreed that there is a clear connection (heard so well in these earl sixties quintet recordings!) between Dizzy’s work-his sound/use of dynamics/register, air attack, articulation and Bill’s conception. Ask Bill about Dizzy sometime. Begin with the stories about going to watch the big band rehearsing in the fifties.

After all the layered events of the day, we managed to spend time before dinner playing some music. Bill sat at the piano and dictated a lovely, three-phrase, lyrical line. This was then played as a canon with all the brass players entering in staggered fashion and gradually extrapolating from the material. Bill had rediscovered this line in an old notebook and worked at it on the piano at his home studio (where it sounded considerably darker). The material had originally been written for a duo concert at Judson church with Judith Dunn in the sixties.

The evening was capped off by a dinner at the wonderful Chinese restaurant across the street from Firehouse 12. The steamed fish and tofu, pea pod greens with garlic and twice-cooked pork were slammin’ but nothing compared to the company and storytelling that swirled around the table as folks got reacquainted and new friendships began to be forged. As usual, the hippest rehearsal is always dinner!

Images of Bill & Taylor by Nick Cretens/my studio setup by Isabelle Moisan.

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