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Bill Dixon, Intents and Purposes
If ever a jazz LP literally qualified as "legendary," Intents is it: Deleted practically in transit, it was briefly reissued only once (in France, in the 1970s). It's at long last been reissued on CD in a fetish-worthy International Phonograph limited edition with original graphics, liner notes, and period Nipper logo, and I envy anyone first hearing it now, because it's as bold and surprising as anything newly released this year.
The mercurial, essentially romantic temperament revealed throughout Intents and Purposes begs comparison with Charles Mingus: Robin Kenyatta's deliriously sour dance-band-alto lead earlier on "Metamorphosis" calls to mind Mingus instructing Charlie Mariano to "play tears" on The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, and the precipitous climate both here and on "Voices," the album's other extended work (for quintet), recalls Mingus the Third Stream miserablist of "Half Mast Inhibition." But unlike Mingus's romantic sensibility, '67 Dixon's expressed itself in abstraction; the emotional payoff is as great, but it requires a greater investment, because even as the dynamics swell and the tempo quickens, the underlying passions never quite bubble to the surface.
(Reprinted from the VillageVoice 13 July 2011 by Francis Davis)
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