One of the seminal free jazz figures, Bill Dixon made his mark as a player, organizer, and educator in a career that spanned more than 50 years. Dixon was a jaggedly lyrical trumpeter -- his delivery was as vocalic as that of any free jazz trumpeter except perhaps Lester Bowie. As an improviser, he was somewhat similar in temperament to Ornette Coleman, yet his compositional style differed greatly from the altoist. Dixon's work featured open space, wide intervals that did not imply a specific key or mode, and dark backdrops owing to the use of two or more double bassists. His art was eminently thoughtful even as it can be viscerally exciting.