WBGO Radar

Akua Dixon: Akua Dixon

Akua Dixon CD cover

Cellist Akua Dixon has been a first-call player and innovator for most of her musical life, which began in the 4th grade. She  attended New York City's High School of the Performing Arts, and went on to study European Classical music at the Manhattan School.

An ear-opening stint  in the pit band of Harlem's Apollo Theater found Akua working with the Reverend James Cleveland, Barry White, James Brown and Dionne Warwick. She developed significant jazz chops as a founding member of the Max Roach Double Quartet, and recorded with Archie Shepp, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln and Dizzy Gillespie.

Harnessing these considerable experiences evolved into the formation of Quartette Indigo, whose two recordings  have delighted legions of jazz fans.

With her new self-titled release, Dixon strings us along for a fascinating trip through the worlds of Charles Mingus, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Ahmad Jamal, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini and more. The creativity of bassist Kenny Davis, Ina Paris on viola, violinists Regina Carter (an alum of Quartette Indigo), Gwen Lester, Chala Yancy, Patrisa Tomassini and John Blake, Jr. on one of his last recordings, make this ten-track effort a very worthwhile listen.

Akua's son, Orion Turre, contributes his drum rhythms on one track, and daughter Andromeda Turre sings on a gorgeous take of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life", swinging it to the finish.

Clifford Brown knew the magic of strings. Charlie Parker too. I'm sure they would delight in hearing them out front as only Akua Dixon could imagine.

Take a bow Akua. Well done.

"Akua Dixon" comes out January 13th. She'll perform in New York City on January 18th at Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church, and on January 30th at Trumpets in Montclair, New Jersey.

   - Gary Walker, WBGO music director

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