Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bill Dixon and the Way Ahead

These images were taken during the fall of 1981.  I was twenty-six years old at the time, working as an Artist in Residence in the Black Music Division at Bennington College. Bill was fifty-five, the age I am now.  By the summer of 1982, I left Vermont for New York.  Bill and I stayed in touch for a while, but I soon found that I needed to burn the Buddha in order to begin the process of finding my own voice/identity. 

All of this, the searching/discipline, was something that Bill had taught, talked about at length and modeled on a daily basis.  When I finally managed to get back to my mentor I had something to share, something that I had found on my own.  At least that is what I have always thought.

What I missed at times, and what the grief and deep reflection of the past few days has solidly brought home, is that I have always been deeply connected with Bill since my student days, and still am.  Japanese Buddhists talk about the path, being a seeker, and how, once you are on the path, you never leave it.  You may wander off the well - worn road into the bushes but you are, in fact,  always moving ahead, whether the way ahead is clear or not. 

Bill got me started on something and I don't believe that I will truly ever be finished.  And that is a good thing.

Thanks, Bill.  I will always love you.

images of Bill Dixon & Stephen Haynes by Steven Albahari

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