Back in September of 2006 both Rob Mazurek and Bill Dixon were performing at the Guelph International Jazz Festival in Ontario, Canada, where the two horn players met for the first time there at a workshop the latter was conducting. Later that day Mazurek saw his long-time hero perform for the first time, but it was an impromptu performance after Dixon's sound check that really left a mark on him. A photographer wanted a shot of Dixon playing his trumpet. "He put horn to lips and played the most sublime, powerful sound I have ever heard from any player ever," says Mazurek. "It was as if the church was going to crack open and a million white birds would fly from his chest, leaving traces of gold and silver in the light-blasted sky. What felt like an eternity was, in fact, one minute of sound. He ended the piece with an ascending flurry, and it was as if his sound had penetrated the granite pillars to be embedded in the rock for all of eternity." Clearly, an impression was made.
Although Mazurek had long been inspired by Dixon's life and work, meeting him and hearing him play in the flesh was an altogether revelatory experience. Mazurek was enthralled when his elder responded in return, catching the gig by the Sao Paulo Underground, with whom Mazurek was playing, and then charging backstage once the gig was over. "He walked directly up to me, gave me a big hug, and said that the performance was powerful and intense and fantastic, and the juxtaposition of rhythms, the dense structures, the sound, the sound...," he recalls. "I was stunned."