Free Jazz Great Bill Dixon Dies at 84

Free Jazz Great Bill Dixon Dies at 84

American free jazz/avant-garde trumpeter Bill Dixon died last night (June 15) in his sleep. He was 84.

Along with the trumpet, Dixon, born in 1925, also played the flugelhorn and piano, and was highly respected in the free jazz scene. His musical history is long and storied: back in 1961 to 1963 he played with saxophonist Archie Shepp; in 1964 Dixon presented a concert series called The October Revolution in Jazz, with musicians such as Sun Ra and Paul Bley. Dixon is also known for organizing the Jazz Composer's Guild, who supported jazz independent of clubs or agents.

Dixon also left his mark in academia, teaching at Bennington College from 1968 to 1995, where he formed the Black Music Division in 1973. In 1986, he published a book, L'Opéra: A Collection of Letters, Writings, Musical Scores, Drawings and Photographs.

He also enjoyed visual arts; some of his artwork can be seen here.


 Dixon's most recent album was Tapestries for Small Orchestra, which came out last year.

Dixon is survived by his partner Sharon Vogel and two children.

There will be a memorial service and information about where to send donations in his name coming soon.