A growth and a rebirth period: Whit Dickey

Starting Tao Forms, his own record label, this year has given drummer Whit Dickey another way to disseminate the Free Jazz he’s been playing for the past 40 years. In this interview with Aquarium Drunkard’s anonymous questioner he insists that he’s still growing at the age of 66, and, after a period of illness and study, has decided to become more active musically. While Dickey’s membership in tenor saxophonist David S. Ware’s seminal quartet is only briefly mentioned, he does go into greater details about his vibrational theories on the yin-and-yang of music; his early studies with percussionist Milford Graves; and how consistently listening to the vibrations from tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s music provided the impetus to create Tao Forms. Since his improvising is idiosyncratic in itself, Dickey explains that he can find novel sound areas to explore whether it is, as on his newest discs, with musicians he has worked with for many years such as pianist Matthew Shipp – he played on Shipp’s first recording – and alto saxophonist Rob Brown, or newer, younger associates such as bassist Brandon Lopez.