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To hear Dickie Landry say it, he’s been in the right place at the right time for decades. Within weeks of moving to New York in 1969, he met Ornette Coleman, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich, forming strong relationships with each. He was working as a plumber alongside Glass when he began photographing icons of the Downtown art scene, documenting the fledgling careers of sculptor Richard Serra and multimedia polymaths Keith Sonier and Joan Jonas, as well as Glass’s ensemble, which he had just joined on saxophone. . He connected with Paul Simon and ended up playing sax Graceland After introducing himself at a performance at Carnegie Hall; he sat down with Bob Dylan at the 2003 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the day after a chance meeting with a restaurateur friend. Despite his relative obscurity, Landry has been everywhere, repeatedly finding his place among artists willing to push their work beyond the familiar.

Landry’s music occupies a unique, non-idiomatic zone. He grew up on a farm outside of Lafayette, Louisiana in the 1950s and 60s, playing saxophone from the age of 10 and immersed in the jazz and zydeco that surrounded him. Early on, the multi-reedist saw the strange and exciting results of cross-cultural exchange, and he took that spirit with him to New York, where he shepherded many other Louisianans into Lower Manhattan’s thriving avant-garde art and music communities. In the early to mid-’70s, when he became a core member of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Landry carved out his corner at the intersection of free jazz and minimalism, developing a unique style of improvisation that combines the fiery breath of the former. the revolutionary spirit and the dizzying spin of the latter.

A new trio of Invisible Worlds reprints.Solos, Four segments posted in the first quarterand: Built on sand— documents the evolution of his style. Each album grew out of Landry’s connections in the avant-garde, but even when the music was recorded in a gallery, nothing about it is neat or inert. Like Glass Ensemble partner Joanne LaBarbara, Landry takes the technique and stamina that Glass’s music demands and deploys it in far more esoteric, sometimes anarchic, contexts. As the ’70s progressed, Landry’s music became increasingly focused on tone and rhythm, but these three albums represent a musician determined to confront and confuse even as he embraces repetition and melody. The music ranges from rousing, long-form group improvisation to hushed, circular melodies laced with poetry, but the most popular pieces are squarely in the middle.


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