Anyone who has seen Ola Dixon play drums never forgets her because there is no one quite like her. Ola is special.
Although Ola is mostly known for her drumming, she is a fine singer as well. This collection of songs captures her unique voice, drumming and also her eclectic taste in music.
I first met Ola in the mid `70s at Max’s Kansas City in NYC. She was working with the great Paul Oscher’s Band. What immediately impressed me was Ola’s no-nonsense approach to the drums. She is definitely from the “less is more” school of music. I once heard someone ask Ola how she would describe her style of drumming. Her response was, “I may not be anything fancy, but I can sure keep time.”
She has “kept time” through the years for many Blues greats, including Jimmy Rogers, Big Walter Horton and Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson. Her style is pure, solid, and filled with feeling. — Brian Bisesi
Special Thanks to Allen Dixon and the Dixon family for patience, love and support, to Shiqueen Dixon for keeping things together, to Geneva Vivino for help when needed, to Ann Bisesi for endless encouragement, to Jean Graham for her generous hospitality, to Jane Wholey and Jed Horne for always lending an ear, and Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, Johnny Ace, Ken “Man” Frank, Phil Keller and Mike Panek of Victor’s House of Music, Paramus, NJ,
“Broadway Al” Trommers and Eli Horne.
The musicians on this recording are all people who have worked with Ola at one time or another. The project began when my good friend Jimmy Vivino (guitarist from the TV show Late Night with Conan O’ Brien) approached me about recording Ola. From there it grew. Jimmy and I received the same response from everyone we asked to take part (including photographer Joe Rosen): “For Ola? Just let me know when and where!”
This very special group of musicians includes: Jimmy Vivino, guitar, keyboards and trumpet; Jerry Vivino, sax; Mike Merritt, bass; Dave Maxwell, piano; Randy Lippincott, bass; and me, Brian Bisesi, guitar. I would like to add that I have had the pleasure of working with Ola on and off for the last 25 years. When we finished recording, Ola looked around the studio at all the musicians, her longtime friends. She said, speaking for all of us, “You know, this was really a labor of love.” – Brian Bisesi, Producer
Executive Producer: David Earl
Produced by: Jimmy Vivino and Brian Bisesi
Tracks 1, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 Recorded at Big Sky Studios, Springfield, PA July 28, 1998
Engineer: Marcus Ramsky
Tracks 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 12 Recorded at Sorcerer Sound, NYC, NY March 9-11 1999
Engineer: Tim Conklin
Assistant Engineer: Dick Kondos
Mixed by: David Earl, Brian Bisesi and Jimmy Vivino at Severn Studios, Crownsville, MD
Photography: Joe Rosen
Horns Arranged by: Jimmy Vivino
Mastered by: Phil Klum at the Master Cutting Room, NYC, NY
Digital Enhancement of Original Photography: Randy Santos
CD Design: Copeland Design
Dave Maxwell appears courtesy of Tone Cool Records
Back Cover Photograph (left to right): Mike Merritt, Dave Maxwell, Jimmy Vivino, Ola Dixon, Brian Bisesi, Jerry Vivino and Randy Lippincott
Broken piano wire on “Baby Please Set a Date” courtesy of Dave Maxwell