Jazz: A Revived Label Does Right by Late Trumpeter Bill Dixon | Bleader

Jazz: A Revived Label Does Right by Late Trumpeter Bill Dixon


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A couple weeks ago a meticulously produced and packaged CD reissue of Intents and Purposes, a classic and incredibly rare 1967 album by trumpeter Bill Dixon, began turning up in record shops. International Phonograph, the Chicago label behind it, isn't exactly new, but its only other release is an album by reedist pianist Richie Beirach and bassist George Mraz that came out in 1981, when the imprint was based in Los Angeles. Label owner Jonathan Horwich, a Chicago native, returned here in 2006 after living for four decades in the LA area, where he cofounded and ran Revelation Records—a jazz indie that released great music by the John Carter-Bobby Bradford Quartet, reedists Warne Marsh and Anthony Ortega, and big-band leader and arranger Clare Fischer.

Most of the Revelation catalog is long out of print, but last year Horwich rounded up the Carter-Bradford material, including a bunch of unreleased music, for the essential three-CD set The Complete Revelation Sessions (released by reissue specialists Mosaic Records), which he mastered and mixed in his Hyde Park studio. He plans to reissue another hard-to-find classic, Dogon A.D. by brilliant Saint Louis reedist Julius Hemphill, in June, and he'd like to license and reissue the two superb albums the Carter-Bradford Quartet cut for Flying Dutchman Records in 1969. Horwich is currently mixing and mastering a three-CD Mosaic set of previously unreleased big-band music by reedist Sam Rivers; he also hosts shows on WHPK and Web station robinhoodradio.com.

Dixon, who died last June at 84, enjoyed a wonderful flurry of late-career activity thanks in part to his collaborations with Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek, and the initial run of 1,000 copies of Intents and Purposes has almost sold out. A paradigm-shifting album, it took many years for most musicians to absorb, and Dixon's distinctive sounds—terse blurts, whinnies, and cries—seem to have had their greatest impact on a generation of horn players (Mazurek, Axel DÖrner, Peter Evans, Nate Wooley) who began maturing three decades after its release.