Henry Threadgill's music is best served neither cold nor hot, but with an open mind. The 68 year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist has endured as one of contemporary music's foremost innovatorsa cofounder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a bandleader with over thirty releases, and works with a number of eclectic bands including Zooid, currently his longest running band which includes likeminded acolytesguitarist Liberty Ellman and tuba/trombone player Jose Davila, among others.
Zooid's Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp follows Pi Recording's critically acclaimed This Brings Us To, Volume 1(2009) and Volume 2 (2010), and demonstrates Threadgill's continued pursuance of music that "defies easy explication." It's as captivating and arresting as any of his previous works. p> If anything, Threadgill's concepts are evolving. Those exhaustive mechanisms of counterpoint and improvisation are still present in "A Day Off," but there are also new soundscapes to capture the imagination in "See The Blackbird Now" where Christopher Hoffman's haunting cello sings as the others join the ethereal line. The six compositions steer through complex sound topographies where Ellman's searching acoustic lines and Davila's low frequency rumblings move between bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavees cadenced glue.
The serrated time signature in "Ambient Press Thereby" is an impossible groove and not for the squeamish. The instruments bopping feverishly: Threadgill's acerbic alto leading the way with quick and searching lines as Ellman later joins the fray with a blossoming solo. It's amazing how the different threads join, split and crisscross, to ultimately arrive at the track's cliffhanging destination.
Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp is totally idiosyncratic, exploratory and bursting with immediacy, performed by a tremendous band and its brilliant composer.
A Day Off; Tomorrow Sunny; So Pleased, No Clue; See the Blackbird Now;
Ambient Pressure Thereby; Put On Keep/Frontispiece, Spp.
Jose Davila: tombone, tuba; Liberty Ellman: guitar; Christopher Hoffman: cello; Elliot Humberto Kavee: drums; Stomu Takeishi; bass; Henry Threadgill: flute, bass flute, alto saxophone.