From one end of the jazz spectrum to the other:
On the heels of their news of a Bing Crosby box-set, Mosaic Records has announced that they’ll also be releasing a Henry Threadgill/Air collection early next year. From the label’s website, here’s a description:
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 1986, 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. Over the next two years, the group recorded three albums, all for RCA Novus and all 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.