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Walter Dixon CD Front

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In this collection of pieces we may have the opening clue to the musical essence of Walter Dixon. He was a pianist with an unabashedly romantic style. His treatment of these songs is so personal and so intimate that the listener is drawn into the mood he creates.

Walter's ear for harmony was extraordinary and that is not too strongly stated. Musicians tend to play according to the mechanics or mathematics of a musical score. But with Walter, the harmonies are already there before he even thinks about them. It is not an overstatement to say his ear for harmony was phenomenal and unerring.

Technique is essential because this is the medium for moving the music from inside the artist to the keyboard. Walter's keyboard technique was singularly remarkable. Most musicians tend to avoid the keys of D flat and G flat (with 5 and 6 flats respectively) because of their complexity and few musical scores are written in them. But Walter's technique almost exclusively favored the use of these more neglected keys because of their resonance.

Sheron McNeil Dixon

Song Samples from Walter Dixon CD

Gigi - 1:32
The use of introductions allows the artist to add something of his own creative genius to the music he is about to interpret for his audience. Walter's introductions were as extraordinary as his interpretations. He was fond of creating his own elaborate preludes (which offered no clue as to the title of the song) to capture the attention of his audience and, more importantly, to set the mood for the music to follow. In Gigi, for example, Walter creates a delicately woven introduction to convey the enigma of Gigi.

The Way You Look Tonight - 1:48
Similarly, Walter favored using unusually long endings, a good example of which can be found in The Way You Look Tonight. He liked to linger over the mood and melody of the music so that the listener's involvement with it could gradually dissolve allowing him to gently lead them into his next arrangement.

The Nearness Of You - 2:04
Walter's interpretive style was introspective and thoughtful. For each number he made extensive use of his own creative power to weave a pattern of notes meant to convey to the listener the depth of feeling the music evoked in him.

His introspective approach is clearly evident in his rendition of The Nearness of You. Here, Walter handles the composition in a poignantly thoughtful, lingering and romantic way, evoking the memory of that exquisite moment when the nearness and mystery of the listener's "beloved" was first felt. As one locally renowned musician remarked, "I never heard anything as thoughtfully interpreted as this."

This Nearly Was Mine - 1:16
This Nearly Was Mine offers another fine example of Walter's intimacy with the material and with his audience. Walter never loses his grip; never drifts off message; never leads the audience astray.

Theme From The Constant Nymph - 1:59
A lot of pianists won't tackle movie themes because they are hard to translate into a piano solo. But in the Theme From The Constant Nymph, Walter's unusual genius for feeling harmonies recreates the poignancy of the orchestral score.

You Don't Know What Love Is - 1:48
His rendition of You Don’t Know What Love Is uses a multitude of styles and moods to turn the melody inside out; masterfully expressing the enormous range of emotions love brings in its wake with an ending that resolves love’s turmoil in a mood of quiet reverie.

Non Dimenticar - 1:32
In Non Dimenticar, Walter uses a long forgotten special technique. He plays the melody with the base and the fill with his right hand, a style which was popular in the 1930's and 40's. He plays it in the traditionally Italian (Neapolitan) style.

How Deep Is The Ocean - 1:44
His introduction to How Deep Is The Ocean suggests the turbulence of the sea and his interpretation, well known and standard, equates the many moods of the ocean to the moods of love.

On The Street Where You Live - 1:11
Walter's On The Street Where You Live conveys the uplifting mood of the lyrics. He incorporates the sounds of traffic into his happy musical reverie and caps it with a hit of An American In Paris.

Improvisation - 1:58
Improvisation radically breaks with Walter's usual style. In this hauntingly beautiful melody, there is no prelude and no trailing finish. Walter simply begins playing from his heart and when the melody is finished he stops.

Misty - 1:16
In Walter's rendition of Misty, the listener is, once again, drawn into gentle reverie and encouraged to linger, for a little while, on the tender moment the music brings to mind.

Walter Dixon At The Piano

Click photo to view video clips of Walter at the piano.

... And His Voice

Click photo to hear Walter read from The Little Prince

The Little Prince - 1:49

"Better than Peter Ustinov!" said a listener. "eloquently delivered," said another. How apropos that Walter chose Chapters XX and XXI from The Little Prince as the only reading included with his music. For it is in these chapters that the little prince learns from a fox the secret of what is really important in life.

He introduces his 1960 reading with imrpovisational music which he continues to play throughout the narration. Blending his music and voice with the words of Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Walter presents for the listening pleasure of adults and children alike, the touching story of a small boy's sad encounter with disappointment and injured pride. Oh, and the secret? Why not listen to the story and let Walter tell you himself?


Walter recorded the contents of this CD in 1960 on two reel-to-reel tapes using state-of-the-art equipment at the studios of WHAM. He never spoke of these tapes to anyone. Following his death on September 5, 2003, his family found them filed among the extensive collection of tapes representing the best of his professional work. His family and friends are enormously grateful for this gift from him.