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Friday, March 1, 2024

Rob Dixon: all that jazz

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Joining the lineup at the upcoming Diversity Music Fest “One Mic, One Sound” will be internationally known jazz musician, saxophonist Rob Dixon.

Joining Dixon for his set will be his group Trilogy, featuring pianist Steven Jones, bassist Brandon Meeks and Greg Artry on drums.

Dixon grew up in Atlanta and said he always had a passion for music. He went to Marist High School to play football, but also wanted to be in the band as a drummer. Well as some folks say, the Lord works in mysterious ways.

“When I told the band director I wanted to play drums, he told me he had enough drummers and I’d have to play the sax – because that was the only instrument he had left.”

So began Dixon’s world-renowned music career.

He took private saxophone lessons with Charles Bradley, a top teacher in Atlanta for woodwind students, who pushed Dixon “in the right direction.”

After his graduation from Hampton University, Dixon continued his learning in the jazz studies program at Indiana University. While there he worked alongside another renowned jazz musician and educator – David Baker.

Following his IU studies, the saxophonist moved to Indianapolis to practice his craft. That led to a move to New York City where he lived for six years.

A look at his biography gives a clue of how he advanced in the musical world and in the jazz genre. In New York, he worked with some of the best known artists of the time including the Count Basie Orchestra, singer Tony Bennett, Dakota Stanton, Slide Hampton, Ray Charles and Jonah Jones.

Orchestras Dixon continues to work with include the Count Basie Orchestra, the Smithsonian Master Works Jazz Orchestra, the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra and the Cleveland Heritage Jazz Orchestra.

Dixon said he thought the idea of a diversity music festival was a great idea. “Any chance you get to celebrate the arts and music, especially under a title of diversity, is good for the present and idealistic for the future. Celebrating diversity in the arts and culture is what America is all about.

“America is a true melting pot from all parts of the world, and we should celebrate our diversity.”

He has been involved in many ways with music since moving to Indianapolis permanently. He is a principal in Owl Studios here and is its vice president for A&R (artists and repertoire). He also is the vice president of the Indianapolis Jazz Fest, where he serves as director of education and artist liaison.

His latest project from Owl Studios is the production of a recording from the Headhunters. Titled “Platinum,” it will be released June 14.

The Headhunters formerly worked as a group with Herbie Hancock.

Dixon produced “Platinum” and also wrote some of the music for the CD.

Music Fest sponsors

Sponsoring the Diversity Music Fest is the Indiana Minority Business Magazine, which is part of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper group.

Indiana Minority Business Magazine is a quarterly publication that highlights successful minority and women professionals, while encouraging business growth and innovation throughout Indiana.

The title sponsor is Daddy Real Entertainment, which provides graphic design, limo service, artistic development, booking and promotion.

Daddy Real Records and Daddy Real Video Productions also are an integral part of the company’s variety of services.

Musical groups

in the festival

The concert will offer samples of not only Dixon’s jazz but also R&B, Latin, rock, country, gospel and pop. All the groups are well-known area musicians.

Concert-goers will see national gospel recording artist and Indianapolis native Lamar Campbell and the Spirit of Praise. Others on the marquee will be Blue Soul Band, a premiere R&B group; pop sensation Kontraband Muzik; Wildheart, which draws influence from country music; Banda Pluma Blanca, a Latin favorite that joins styles and genres like techno band, tierra caliente to create the unique style called tecno calidu; and Remedy, who promise to keep the place rocking with dance, pop, classic and modern rock.


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