Sunday, April 4, 2010

Henry Threadgill, jazz composer

One of the few criticisms that I had for Graham Collier's The Jazz Composer was that he didn't have much to say about contemporary jazz figures other than himself. Henry Threadgill was probably foremost in my mind when I made that remark. The Brooklyn Rail has a fine article by George Grella about Threadgill, with some depth in the discussion about his compositions (hat tip: Avant Music News). Grella mentions Threadgill's Society Situation Dance Band, criminally unrecorded, and suggests YouTube as a source. There's quite a traffic in Threadgill concert bootlegs, so intrepid googlers can find some pure audio documentation out there.


maready said...

There are also big features on Mr. Threadgill in the current 'Signal to Noise' and 'Wire' magazines, all timed to coincide with Mosaic's box set reissue of all of Threadgill's major label recordings (with Air and Very Very Circus and others, for Arista, Novus and Sony). My girlfriend sublet HT's apartment for six months while he was in India, which made it possible for me to have the pleasure of playing his beautiful Steinway.

I haven't read Collier's book yet. Highly recommended, of course, is George Lewis' book on the AACM, "A Power Greater Than Itself", which, naturally, does includes material on Threadgill.

crow said...

The run of 6 *Sextet* releases,spanning the 80's, are my favorite jazz ensemble recordings of that decade. Truly essential, allowed to remain oop for 20 years, I hope the Mosaic does them justice [skeptical].

# 1982: When Was That? (Henry Threadgill Sextet)

# 1983: Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket (Henry Threadgill Sextet)

# 1984: Subject to Change (Henry Threadgill Sextet)

# 1987: You Know the Number (Henry Threadgill Sextett, Novus Records)

# 1988: Easily Slip Into Another World (Henry Threadgill Sextett, Novus Records)

# 1989: Rag, Bush and All (Henry Threadgill Sextett, Novus Records)

maready said...

Given the great job Mosaic has done in the past with everyone from Monk and Herbie Nichols to last year's Braxton set, I have no doubt that they will do Mr. Threadgill justice (and more)

Caleb Deupree said...

Hi Maready and Crow, thanks for the comments. My primary experience with Threadgill started as a Bill Laswell connection, the Very Very Circus albums on Axiom and Columbia. I had the Joplin/Morton Air album on vinyl, but that was an outgrowth of my ragtime days and I wasn't ready to hear Threadgill's arrangements. I eagerly look forward to the sextet reissues.