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by John Garratt

17 Jun 2010


Bill Dixon, jazz trumpeter, composer, and educator, died in his Vermont home on Wednesday, June 16. He was 84.

For about half a century, Dixon’s name has been peppered all around the fringes of modern jazz. His works with Archie Shepp and Cecil Taylor in the 1960s placed him on the map, and all over that map he would eventually sprawl himself. He utilized his composition skills as a bandleader and exercised his chops as an occasional sideman. But Dixon was almost always fostering the very genre he was helping to create. He was a professor of music at Bennington College, helped set up appropriate live music venues in Greenwich Village, and organized the October Revolution in jazz concert series. Even though he retired from teaching in the mid-‘90s, he still stayed active with recording and gigging. He even lent a hand to his genre protégé Rob Mazurek on Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra, which received a positive review from PopMatters, no less.

Before Bill Dixon left us, he created a strange, nebulous double album called Tapestries for Small Orchestra. Eight musicians, including the aforementioned Mazurek, bring to life the deep, impressionistic harmonies that Dixon seemingly plucked from the air and transposed to paper. As “Adagio - Slow Mauve Scribblings” slowly burns down like a stick of incense, you sadly realize that this type of album is almost peerless nowadays, earning it a place in destination-out.com’s favorites of 2009.

The trumpet just lost its Anthony Braxton.

by PopMatters Staff

17 Jun 2010


Mr Mashup, Pogo, celebrates the release this week of Toy Story 3 (yes, it’s another summer of sequels) with “Toyz Noize”. Read more in depth about Pogo in L.B. Jeffries’ recent Moving Pixels article, “Pogo: Turning Classic Films into New Songs”.

by PopMatters Staff

17 Jun 2010


Broken Social Scene played “Texico Bitches” on Jimmy Fallon, a tune that Evan Sawdey described as “joyously disposable”. Here’s what else he said about the song last month in his review of the Toronto band’s latest full-length Forgiveness Rock Record:

“Even on something as joyously disposable as ‘Texico Bitches’, Kevin Drew’s vulgar slang soon turns into a near plea for the Texico Bitches to stick around out of a fear of lonliness, the only line in the chorus being ‘I want to be fair’. The song is still catchy as all get-out, but the more time spent with these lyrics only shows just how dour Drew’s outlook can be. Marrying strangely dark lyrics to infectious harmonies is nothing new in pop music, but as is often the case, we get lost in tension between these opposing ends.”

by PopMatters Staff

17 Jun 2010


Acoustics are really good inside of a car. All you wannabe pop stars belting out tunes in your four-wheeled transport on the way to work know what I’m talking about. British blue-eyed soulman, Jamie Lidell, just kills it on “The Ring” in a smoldering and echoey (thanks to the car’s acoustics) performance for the Black Cab Sessions.

by John Garratt

17 Jun 2010


Not long ago, I had the opportunity to review the latest album by Columbus, Ohio’s sitcom-core star Electric Grandmother called Listening Party. If you’re scratching your head wondering what in the hell sitcom-core could mean, prepare to have all questions answered.

Behold, the Grandmother’s label Infinite Number of Sounds has all of the artist’s albums available for free download from their website, even the early ones that I thought I’d never get to hear. The Electric Grandmother seems to understand that the meat and potatoes of his art lie in his live shows (just witness the clip below), so offering up this much music for free must be a way to at least get one’s feet wet…until the day you get to see traffic cones and ballons kicked around the room of a small club in front of a backdrop of slides that include, among other things, Bob Saget flipping you off.

[download MP3s]

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