David Bixler – Beatitude (ENG review)

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David Bixler – Beatitude

David Bixler has always reminded me of the painter Soulage, reducing his art to its essence and succeeding in radiating through mastery of his craft. His previous album, “The Langton Hughes Project,” released in January of this year, had already managed to captivate us https://www.paris-move.com/reviews/david-bixler-the-langston-hughes-project-vol-1/. This one seems much more personal and intimate, showing a willingness to search for a purer and perhaps more radical inspiration, where the essential is not so much the composition itself, but the abstraction to retain only the essence in his musical writing.

After moving to New York thirty years ago, Bixler proved himself by touring worldwide with the big orchestras of Lionel Hampton and Toshiko Akioshi. He then joined the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band, with whom he played every Sunday night at Birdland for a decade and won a LATIN GRAMMY for the recording, “Final Night at Birdland.” However, a traumatic brain injury suffered by his youngest son required a change in priorities for Bixler over the last decade – a period during which his family devoted much energy to caring for their youngest member. Because of this new perspective, Bixler’s reimagined creative approach is evident in his most recent production.

Undoubtedly, somewhere in this album lies a bit of Dexter Gordon’s soul, at least in terms of the perfection of saxophone playing style, this way of sending notes out like soap bubbles, making them shine, making them multicolored, supported by equally radiant musicians: pianist John Cowherd, bassist Ike Sturn, and drummer Rogiero Bocatto. This album is an impeccable achievement signed by Peter Karl, and we must also applaud the excellence of the mastering by Alessio Romano. Certainly, you might say it’s a classically styled album, but “Beatitude” is actually eight paintings inspired by life, or rather life moments, those little moments that make you happy and sometimes indescribable. Bixler manages to please almost everyone. For a previous project, here’s what the press said: “In the Face of Chaos,” Bixler brought together pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Ike Sturm, and percussionist Rogerio Boccato, who are sensitive interpreters of Bixler’s music. Their combined effort produces music that is stimulating for the listener without fearing to embrace beauty. In “All About Jazz,” Dan Bilawsky writes: “In the Face of Chaos marks a resurgence, even a complete artistic rebirth, for David Bixler. It serves as true inspiration, drawing beauty from pain and peace from personal struggle… Facing chaos, with Bixler’s seasoned horn leading the way, wisdom and wonder prevail.”

We could certainly use the same superlatives for this new album. Bixler loves beauty, rounded sounds, poetic propositions, demanding in his compositions as well as his performances. It’s hard not to admire such an artist who knows how to make each of his projects “Indispensable.” So, for those of you who love saxophone, jazz, beautiful compositions, this album beckons you, and you won’t regret it!

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, May 8th 2024

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Tho buy this album