Among all else of great note that shall happen in music this year, 2008 marks the magnificent return to record of the legendary Bill Dixon: composer, trumpeter, teacher and all-around musical force. His contributions to the body of great Black American Music first began in the 1960s: as a producer for Savoy Records; producing the groundbreaking October Revolution concert series in NYC 1964; as architect of the Jazz Composers Guild. In the late 60s he left ‘the scene’ but continued leaving an indelible mark on the music by devoting himself to teaching from 1968 onward, creating the Black Music Division at Bennington College, VT in 1973.
While he has never stopped composing (prolifically at that), and produced a series of small ensemble recordings from the 70s – 90s, his work for expanded, orchestral ensemble has gone unrecorded and/or unreleased since his momentous album Intents And Purposes (RCA, 1967). Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra, a well-received collaboration with Rob Mazurek (Exploding Star Orchestra) was released by Thrill Jockey in February. And now, this album -- a tour de force of orchestral composition, conduction and improvisational exploration -- fully composed by Bill Dixon and performed with The Bill Dixon Orchestra. 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur was specially commissioned by Arts for Art, Inc. (producers of the Vision Festival). It is one of three such commissions which made their concert debuts at Vision Festival XII in 2007.