18

Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up: Old Locks And Irregular Verbs

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up: Old Locks And Irregular Verbs The premiere of Old Locks and Irregular VerbsHenry Threadgill's tribute to his longtime friend and colleague, musical pioneer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris—was easily one of the most talked about events at the 2014 edition of New York's Winter Jazzfest. The buzz factor and expectation surrounding this work and the band performing it was so strong, in fact, that it was scheduled for two performance slots. For any other act at a festival that prides itself on diversity, that might've been programming overkill; in this particular case, it seemed perfectly appropriate.

Shortly before the second performance, a NYC Winter Jazzfest insider who had seen the true premiere commented that it was a stunning piece with a major payoff at the end. Truer thoughts have never been verbalized. That second presentation at Judson Memorial Church turned out to be a brilliant and brooding melange of musical questions and answers, capped off with a super-charged finale that brought the house down. It was a genius display of tectonic shifts shaped by the mind and hands of one of jazz's boldest and deepest composers.

Now, more than two years later, Old Locks and Irregular Verbs appears again. In some respects, this incredibly adventurous recorded version of that four-part piece seems to be slightly more reserved than what came to pass on that notable second flight. One example surrounds the sendoff. Memories of a clangor-filled "Part Four" in concert are replaced by a highly ripened version here, a moaning and cathartic amalgam that delivers a more compact punch on its way out. But memories are tricky hangers-on that are prone to alteration and exaggeration over time, so perhaps the difference(s) between the then and now aren't so large after all. It's hard to say after a two year gap between experiences, but there's no doubt that what fills this album is heady and absorbing.

Threadgill doesn't play a note here, but his presence is felt in the way that Ensemble Double Up—a band with two pianos, two alto saxophones, cello, tuba, and drums—coalesces and comes apart. His signatures—layered thoughts, focal shifts—are all over the piece. Solo episodes, dense environments, and strokes of individuality followed or overlapped with fearless ripostes share space as this sui generis septet does its work. One minute the listener may be admiring the manner in which pianists Jason Moran and David Virelles work together and apart, using a style of avant-pointillism to their mutual advantage. But then attention might instantly shift to the rhythmic turbulence created by drummer Craig Weinrib beneath the interactive combination of tuba provocateur Jose Davila and cellist Christopher Hoffman. And then there's the two alto team of Roman Filiu and Curtis MacDonald to contend with. It's all too much to think about, except for the fact that it's not. Threadgill's masterful blend of the independent and interdependent is alive and well in Old Locks and Irregular Verbs.

Track Listing: Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four.

Personnel: Henry Threadgill: composition; Jason Moran: piano; David Virelles: piano; Roman Filiu: alto saxophone; Curtis MacDonald: alto saxophone; Christopher Hoffman: cello; Jose Davila: tuba; Craig Weinrib: drums.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Pi Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Fusion Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Fusion Machine
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Routes" CD/LP/Track Review Routes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Tracé Provisoire" CD/LP/Track Review Tracé Provisoire
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Reflections in Cosmo" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections in Cosmo
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!