COMPOSERS: Henry Threadgill
PERFORMER: Threadgill (as, flute); Brandon Ross (g); Tony Cedras (acc, harmonium); Stomu Takeishi (el b); JT Lewis (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 485139-2
Saxophonist Henry Threadgill has inhabited the art house neighbourhood of jazz since it sprang up in the Sixties.
A leading member of Chicago’s abstractionist collective, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Threadgill also founded the turbulent Air trio, which won acclaim for its re-working of Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton tunes.Since then the 53-year-old has concentrated on writing often dirge-like big band music, sometimes with unexpected instrumentation.
These latest compositions use Tony Cedras’s wheezing accordion and harmonium to cast melancholy shadows across the leader’s plangent alto soloing. Some welcome relief from the gloom is provided when Threadgill switches to flute.Brandon Ross contributes alternately poignant and wayward guitar accompaniment.
The seven enigmatically titled tracks may well be trying to tell a story – if so, the plot is hard to follow. On balance, it is probably better to surrender to this dark, brooding music than to probe it for meaning. GB