"Inside almost all of Dixon's small group recordings, there is a dark pressure, like the imprint of a much larger composition that has been denied full expression. That is profoundly evident on Vade Mecum, which begins Dixon's association with British percussionist Tony Oxley. Anamorphous on the first record is one of Dixon's most thoughtful conceptions, but if anything the second disc is a more coherent and cogent representation of what this remarkable group was capable of."
(source: The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD - Seventh Edition)
“The first of two volumes released from this session, Vade Mecum features this remarkably nimble and creative quartet under the direction of Bill Dixon. Not quite free improvisation, Dixon's compositions provide loose frameworks for the musicians, creating subtle structural spaces for the to investigate. In this sense, his work is akin to (and perhaps an updating of) Cecil Taylor's classic Conquistador!, on which Dixon participated. The expansiveness and airiness of the sound here is one of this record's most striking qualities. The two bassists, Guy and Parker, have very different but complimentary personae; the former fleet and inquisitive, the latter dark and probing. With the two of them occupying the middle ground, underpinned by Oxley's uniquely coloristic percussion, Dixon's flights have all the naturalness and unpredictability of a bird's. Vade Mecum II, released separately, arguably attains even greater heights than this recording, but both are vital documents representing the state of improvised music in the '90s.”
(source: AllMusic.com, B. Olewnick)