Middletown, CT, January 26, 2005
- Legendary trumpeter and composer Bill Dixon, a seminal figure in contemporary jazz and new music, will give his first U.S. solo trumpet performance in over 15 years during a one-week residency at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts. The residency will culminate in a solo performance including pianist and MacArthur Fellow Ran Blake on Saturday, February 12 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $6 for non-Wesleyan students and seniors. More information is available by calling the box office at 860-685-3355 or visiting www.wesleyan.edu/cfa. Advance ticket purchases are recommended.
In conjunction with the residency two additional events, both open to the public, are also scheduled:
Bill Dixon and the Wesleyan Creative Music Orchestra, premiering a composition by Dixon, takes place on Friday, February 11 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall. During his residency Dixon will work with a student ensemble to create a new orchestra piece especially for this performance. Tickets are $5.
A Symposium on the State of Improvised Music with Bill Dixon, Ran Blake and Francesco Martinelli will take place in The Russell House on Saturday, February 12 from 10am to 3:30pm. Admission is free; for more information call Hope McNeil at 860-685-2597 or visit www.weseleyan.edu/music.
Bill Dixon's music often employs an expansive open feeling using wide intervals that do not imply a specific key, which are clothed in dark orchestral backdrops. Over the 50-year course of his career he has made his mark as a player, organizer, and educator, whose thoughtful-yet-visceral style is a benchmark and influence for both emerging and established jazz musicians.
In the early 1960s, Dixon formed a quartet with saxophonist Archie Shepp. In 1964, he organized the October Revolution in Jazz, a sold-out festival of new jazz held at the Cellar Cafe in Manhattan, which showed the world that there was an audience for this new music. As a result of the festival's success, Dixon formed the Jazz Composer's Guild, a musician's cooperative that included Dixon, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Cecil Taylor, Paul & Carla Bley, Sun Ra and others. Dixon's commitment to education began early, with his formation of the United Nations Jazz society in 1959. In 1967, he founded the Free Conservatory of the University of the Streets, a music education program for inner-city youth in New York. Beginning in 1968, Dixon taught at Bennington College in Vermont. In 1973 he founded the Black Music division, where he remained as professor and chair until his retirement in 1996.
Dixon has performed and conducted workshops and master classes around the world. He has recorded for the Savoy, RCA/Victor, Fore, Black Saint and FMP record labels. His most recent recording is the landmark limited edition six-CD boxset, Odyssey.
Born in 1925, Dixon grew up in New York City, and currently lives in Bennington, Vermont. His first studies were in painting, a work he continues to pursue to this day. For more information, visit http://www.bill-dixon.com.
Ran Blake has been Chair of the Contemporary Improvisation Department (formerly Third Stream Department) at the New England Conservatory of Music since the early 1970s. Born in 1935, Blake is a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships. He has recorded over thirty albums as a leader with guests such as Jaki Byard, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Houston Person, and Clifford Jordan on the Soul Note, Hatology, Owl, Arista-Novus and ESP labels. His recording debut, with vocalist Jeanne Lee, was released in 1962 on the RCA / Victor label. Blake's unique personal style, drawing from diverse musical genres and inspired by film noir, transcends category.
Ran Blake and Bill Dixon's performance is co-sponsored by the Wesleyan University Concert Committee. Upcoming concerts in February include bluesman Otis Taylor (February 25), Yosuke Yamashita's New York Trio (February 26) and Music from China (February 27).
The Center for the Arts (www.wesleyan.edu/CFA) is an 11-building complex on the Wesleyan campus that houses the departments of art and art history, music, theater and dance. It serves as a cultural center for the region, the state and New England. The CFA includes the 400-seat Theater, the 260-seat Cinema, the World Music Hall (a non-Western performance space), the 414-seat Crowell Concert Hall and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.
Tickets for Bill Dixon and the Wesleyan Creative Music Orchestra and Bill Dixon, Solo Trumpet, and Ran Blake, Solo Piano can be purchased via phone or in person at the box office. The box office is located on the first floor of the Davenport Campus Center (222 Church Street). For more information about CFA performances and events, call (860) 685-3355, or visit www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.