Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Next Project: A Bill Dixon Update

As we continue the process of preparing the recordings and film of our recent residency at Firehouse 12, we have begun working on a new project that combines aspects of archival activity with Bill’s recent direct connections with a range of players whose work bears the stamp of his influence.

Bill has drawn up a short list of his solo pieces (see Odyssey) that will be transcribed and published as a folio of music for study and performance. The accompanying CD recording will feature a raft of trumpet/cornet players, each performing and/or interpreting (too soon to tell) a solo composition originally created by Bill.

A simple, elegant concept that opens the door to a range of questions regarding combined systems of notation, as Bill’s technique moves on and off the instrument as regards tempered tuning, and employs a range of extended technique including non-vocally generated multiphonics and controlled usage of pedal tones. This then begs the development of performance notes to accompany any prepared notation of the work.

How much of Bill’s technique can/should be replicated? Are there alternate methods (this would seem likely given the field) one might use to (re)create Bill’s sound and way of moving? What is the relationship between the technical and the aesthetic in Bill’s solo language and how can the apprehension of this relationship inform the creation of new work by future improvisers? These are some questions (there are more, believe me!) that come to mind.

Stay tuned for details as the work unfolds.

Images of Bill at work by Nick Cretens

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