Thursday, November 12, 2009

Henry Threadgill link-a-thon & box set

Henry Threadgill's return to recorded music, with the excellent This Brings Us To, Vol. 1 (Pi Recordings), has gladly lead to a renewed interest in the great man and his music. Not only is there a long piece and interview in the latest issue of The Wire, Nate Chinen has written a profile for the New York Times (pub. Nov. 6th, 2009) (and add to those, my piece in the previous issue of the quality fanzine FAN).

The increasing interest in Threadgill and his music is of course welcome and long overdue. The really good news, though, is that Mosaic Records have announced that they have a Threadgill box-set scheduled for release in early 2010. I'm sure they'll allow me to copy/paste from their site:

"Henry Threadgill: The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air
(Release Date: Early 2010)

Henry Threadgill was among the first wave of distinctive and utterly original artists to emerge from Chicago’s Association for The Advancement of Creative Music along with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton and the member of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago.

As a saxophonist, he delivers his unique style with a big, dry sound and precise articulation. As a composer, he was an American original, influenced by the entire spectrum of music. He creates distinctive sonic canvasses for a variety of ensemble. And his work is infused with a wonderfully dry, almost absurdist sense of humor.

This set covers three important eras in Threadgill’s career, beginning with the three albums that Air made in 1978-79 for Arista Novus including the celebrated “Air Lore” with unique reinterpretations of the music of Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton. Air was a remarkable co-operative trio formed by Threadgill, bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Steve McCall in 1975.

In 1979, Threadgill made his first album as a leader for Arista Novus. “X-75. Volume 1” featured the unique ensemble of four reeds, four basses and the voice of Amina Claudine Myers. A volume 2 was made and never issued. It is released for the first time in this set.

In 1981, Henry formed his Sextett, which consisted of seven musicians! This unique ensemble consisted of trumpet, trombone, cello, bass and two sets of drums as well as Threadgill. Beggining in 1986, the group recorded three albums for RCA Novus all of which are included here.

Threadgill closed out the century with three albums on Columbia (“Carry The Day,” “Makin’ A Move” and “Where’s Your Cup”) recorded between 1994 and ’96 with varying ensembles of unusual instrumentation.

This set cover three distinct and fertile peak periods in Threadgill’s long and ever creative career."

The albums included in the set should thus be Open Air Suite; Air Live at Montreux Suisse; Air Lore; X-75 Vol. 1 (all prev. on Arista Novus); X-75 Vol. 2 (prev. unreleased), You Know the Number; Easily Slip into Another World; Rag, Bush and All (all prev. on Novus); Carry The Day; Makin’ A Move and Where’s Your Cup (all three prev. on Columbia).

Most of these have been out of print for a while, although I've come across second hand copies on various occasions and web sites. Allthough all are great records, the availability of classics Air record Air Lore as well as the Sextett releases Rag... and Easily... are especially welcome.

Side note: my jazz list/grades has not been updated for ages, but both Air Lore and Rag, Bush and All receive top grades (10/10). I may have underestimated Easily..., I think it's better than the 8/10 I gave it a few years back, but I will wait until I have time to update the whole list with new records and grades before I decide whether to change it.


serviceton said...

To say I look forward to this set in anticipation an extreme understatement. Thanks for this Chris.

Sen said...

this long overdue

heard about this last yr, Mosiac believes in taking its time for sure

encym said...

Thanks for this info! I've seen him with Zooid twice and it was breathtaking!

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