Reviews that mention Henry Threadgill

December 13, 2021

Henry Threadgill Zooid

Pi Recordings PI 92

Another glimpse unto the distinctive world of Henry Threadgill has produced another authoritative set of sound vignettes that simultaneously reflect the affiliated musicians and the composition/arrangements. Defined as sonatas or concerti by Threadgill, the five tracks depend on the proven qualities of the established Zooid chamber group: guitarist Liberty Ellman, cellist Christopher Hoffman, drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee, Jose Davila’s tuba and trombone and the composer playing alto saxophone, flute and bass flute. MORE

August 3, 2021

Free Jazz Manifesto

By Philippe Robert and My Cat is an Alien
Lenka Lente

More than music reviews yet less than extended commentaries, Free Jazz Manifesto is a somewhat idiosyncratic list of 169 albums deemed essential to any Free Music collection created by one French and two Italian experts in the field. Each selection is described in one brief paragraph in French by veteran Gallic music journalist/author Philippe Robert and in another blurb crafted in dialect-inflected English prose by Italians Maurizio and Roberto Opalio who perform experimental music as the duo My Cat is an Alien. MORE

October 1, 2015


Laroy Wallace McMillan
By Ken Waxman

On the back cover of Henry’s Threadgill’s influential X-75 Vol. 1 LP from 1979, the lanky flutist is surrounded by an all-star assemblage including vocalist/pianist Amina Claudine Myers, flautists Douglas Ewart and Joseph Jarman and bassists Rufus Reid, Brian Smith, Leonard Jones and Fred Hopkins. Squatting in the foreground, almost dwarfed by Hopkins’ bass, is flautist Laroy Wallace McMillan, probably the least known early AACM member. The photo is an apt metaphor for McMillan’s low-profile. New Yorkers however will get to him play in his first Gotham gig in almost two decades this month, as part of pianist Muhal Richard Abrams ensemble also featuring Myers and Jones. MORE

July 6, 2015

Henry Threadgill Zooid

In for a Penny, in for a Pound
Pi Recording

By Ken Waxman

With battering-ram-like force, some composers thrust mammoth themes at the listener, creating an impression through the weight of their ideas. Henry Threadgill follows an antithetical path. His compositions are organized with pointillist insinuation; the true shape of the exposition is only obvious after every motif has locked into place. He has been experimenting with application of this formula since the late ‘70s, and after a 14-year history together has found his ideal vehicle with the members of Zooid. MORE

September 5, 2011

Henry Threadgill Zooid

This Brings Us To Volume II
Pi Recording PI 36

Nicolas Caloia Quartet


No # No label

Lotte Anker/Craig Taborn/Gerald Cleaver

Floating Islands

ILK 162 CD

William Parker & ICI Ensemble

Winter Sun Crying

Neos Jazz 41008

Something In The Air: Guelph Jazz Festival 2011

By Ken Waxman

--For Whole Note Vol. 17 #1

A highlight of the international calendar, the Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF), September 7 to 11, has maintained its appeal to both the adventurous and the curious over 18 years. It has done so mixing educational symposia with populist outdoor concerts, featuring performers ranging from established masters to experimenters from all over the world. MORE

September 13, 2010

Henry Threadgill’s Zooid

This Brings Us To Volume I
Pi Recordings 31

Another glimpse into the Henry Threadgill world, this singular CD extends the composer/flutist/saxophonist’s sounds rather than alluding to any other current improvised music conceptions. In essence, the tunes on This Brings Us To are part of a unique Klangfarbenmelodie, where every thematic and pitch division advanced by the five musicians are essential to attain the composer’s sonic vision.

Taken mostly legato and moderato, the six compositions are of another extension of what Threadgill has been creating since this century began. Even so, such expected tropes as the preponderance of deep brass tones – supplied by tubaist/trombonist Jose Davila, who also plays in the Spanish Harlem Orchestra – and subtle finger-style guitar licks, courtesy of Liberty Ellman – whose employers have ranged from the San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT) to M-Base – remain constant with the reedist’s long-time conception. MORE

July 2, 2008

A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music

By George E. Lewis
University of Chicago Press

Home from his studies at Yale University in 1971, trombonist George Lewis was walking to his parents’ home on Chicago’s South Side when he heard unusual sounds coming from a nearby brick building. Peering inside he saw a group practicing what he calls “fascinating” music. Asking if he could attend future rehearsals, Lewis was grudgingly welcomed into what he soon found out was the disciplined but inventive milieu of the Association of the Advancement Musicians (AACM). MORE

January 24, 2002


Everybodys Mouth’s A Book
PI Recordings PI01

Up Popped The Two Lips
PI Recordings PI02

Five years after his unsatisfactory major label dalliance ended, composer/saxophonist Henry Threadgill is back with not one, but two new CDs on a brand-new label. Showcasing one quintet and an almost wholly different sextet performing new Threadgill’s pieces, the sessions are exhilarating and comfortable at the same time. That’s because the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)’s most iconoclastic writer is still finding new ways to express himself while staying faithful to the jaunty compositional system he developed as long ago as the early 1990s. MORE