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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Henry Threadgill Zooid: This Brings Us To – Vol II – review | Music | The Guardian

Henry Threadgill - ZooidImage by volume12 via FlickrHenry Threadgill Zooid: This Brings Us To – Vol II – review | Music | The Guardian

Henry Threadgill, the Chicagoan saxophonist and composer, is by no means a jazz celeb, but he's a hero to many influential insiders for his adventurousness with structure and instrumentation, and for explorations of timbre that transform the jazz sound, while still leaving familiar clues from its roots. Threadgill's quintet Zooid has been his principle vehicle throughout the noughties, bringing rhythmically multilayered approaches to input from contemporary classical music, Latin jazz, free jazz, gamelan and the blues. The distinctive Liberty Ellman's guitar is sonorous and elegant on the moody Lying Eyes, before José Davila's trombone and the leader's airy flute lines strike a typical Threadgill contrast over a scurrying avant-funk pulse. On Polymorph, the composer's influence on both Tim Berne's conception and alto-sax sound are very clear. Sometimes Ellman sketches wraith-like lines around Stomu Takeishi's bass before Threadgill's imploring alto-sax swirls in; at others the leader fires atonal yelps across rhythm- patterns jointly established by tuba and drums. It's an economical and ascetic kind of music-making, but packed with the implications of its fast-shifting relationships, and warmer, more animated and accessible than you might expect.
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