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Free jazz trumpeter Bill Dixon, 84

Posted by Steve Greenlee  June 16, 2010 11:59 AM

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Free jazz trumpeter Bill Dixon has died after a two-year illness, according to a family spokesman. He was 84.

Mr. Dixon, who spent most of his life in Massachusetts and Vermont, was best known for his work with pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonist Archie Shepp, but in New England he was known as an educator, having served as a music professor at Bennington College for nearly three decades. He was also a prolific composer, and he released dozens of albums under his own name. All of those that are still in print get three- to four-star reviews in The Penguin Guide to Jazz.

Though revered as a composer, Mr. Dixon didn't start playing music seriously until his early 20s. Born on Nantucket, he was first a visual artist, having studied painting at Boston University and elsewhere.

Mr. Dixon, 84, died in his sleep last night at his home in North Bennington, Vt., said jazz publicist Scott Menhinick. His is survived by his longtime partner, Sharon Vogel, and two children.

A full biography can be found on, along with a guide to his recordings.

Here's a great one-minute piece on Mr. Dixon done about a year ago:


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