100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening)

Every week, we’ll be looking at 1 or two records from The Wire’s “100 Records That Set the World On Fire (While No One Was Listening)” list, originally published in the The Wire 175 (September 1998). You can find the list we’re working from in several places: A Discogs List, and a Rate Your Music List. Both the Discogs List and the Rate Your Music list also have an additional 30 Records that the Wire published later. You’ll also notice that the original lists are in alphabetical order. The Rate Your Music list is in chronological. I think it’s far more interesting to do it chronologically, so that’s how we’re going to do it. The text below the pieces are from the Wire writers. Please listen and comment on reactions.

The Bill Dixon Orchestra Intents And Purposes (RCA 1967)

One of the architects of the 1964 October Revolution and the short-lived Jazz Composers’ Guild, Dixon was an outspoken critic of the conservative factions in jazz – musicians and industry figures alike. He has good cause. Though his early 60s groups were among the most original of the time, his few recordings for Savoy were shamefully neglected, and this lovely, prophetic 1967 session for RCA has been out of print for three decades. Dixon’s eccentric trumpet style, with its grainy microtonal bite and often melancholy edginess, remains intact on 8Os and 90s releases. But what’s been ignored is his individual approach to scoring for larger ensembles – the 11 piece ‘orchestra’ is heard on the dark, moody “Metamorphosis 1962-66′. Dixon’s combination of composed lyricism and propulsive energy, wrapped within his shifting tonal colours and textures, still sounds contemporary and cutting edge. AL

Up Next: Gottfried Michael Koenig – “Terminus II” ; “Funktion Grun” (Deutsche Grammophon 1967)