|Birth name||Henry Luther Threadgill|
|Born||February 15, 1944|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, avant-garde jazz, free jazz|
|Labels||Arista/Novus, About Time, Black Saint, Columbia, Pi|
|Associated acts||AACM, Air, Muhal Richard Abrams, Billy Bang, Anthony Braxton, Craig Harris, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell|
Henry Threadgill (born February 15, 1944) is an American composer, saxophonist and flautist.He came to prominence in the 1970s leading ensembles rooted in jazz but with unusual instrumentation and often incorporating other genres of music. He has performed and recorded with several ensembles: Air, Aggregation Orb, Make a Move, the seven-piece Henry Threadgill Sextett, the twenty-piece Society Situation Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, and Zooid.
He was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album In for a Penny, In for a Pound ,which premiered at Roulette Intermedium on December 4, 2014
Threadgill performed as a percussionist in his high-school marching band before taking up baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, and flute. He studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, majoring in piano, flute, and composition. He studied piano with Gail Quillman and composition with Stella Roberts.He was an original member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in his hometown of Chicago and worked under the guidance of Muhal Richard Abrams before leaving to tour with a gospel band. In 1967, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, playing with a rock band in Vietnam during the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968. He was discharged in 1969.
After returning to Chicago, Threadgill joined fellow AACM members bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Steve McCall in a trio which would eventually become the group Air. He moved to New York City, where he formed his first group, X-75, a nonet consisting of four reed players, four bass players, and a vocalist.
In the early 1980s, Threadgill created his first critically acclaimed ensemble as a leader, the Henry Threadgill Sextet (actually a septet; he counted the two drummers as a single percussion unit),which released three albums on About Time Records. After a hiatus, he formed New Air with Pheeroan akLaff, replacing Steve McCall on drums, and reformed the Henry Threadgill Sextett (with two t's at the end). The six albums the group recorded feature some of his most accessible work, notably on the album You Know the Number . The group's unorthodox instrumentation included two drummers, double bass, cello, trumpet, and trombone, in addition to Threadgill's alto saxophone and flute. Among the players were drummers akLaff, John Betsch, Reggie Nicholson and Newman Baker; bassist Fred Hopkins; cellist Diedre Murray; trumpeters Rasul Siddik and Ted Daniels; cornetist Olu Dara; and trombonists Ray Anderson, Frank Lacy, Bill Lowe, and Craig Harris.
During the 1990s, Threadgill pushed the musical boundaries even further with his ensemble Very Very Circus. The group consisted of two tubas, two electric guitars, a trombone or French horn, and drums. With this group he explored more complex and highly structured forms of composition, augmenting the group with Latin percussion, French horn, violin, accordion, vocalists, and exotic instruments. He composed and recorded with other unusual instruments, such as a flute quartet (Flute Force Four, a one-time project from 1990); and combinations of four cellos and four acoustic guitars (on Makin' a Move).
He was signed by Columbia Records for three albums. Since the dissolution of Very Very Circus, Threadgill has continued in his iconoclastic ways with ensembles such as Make a Move and Zooid. Zooid, currently a sextet with tuba (Jose Davila), acoustic guitar (Liberty Ellman), cello (Christopher Hoffman), drums (Elliot Kavee) and bass guitar (Stomu Takeishi), has been the primary vehicle for Threadgill's compositions in the 2000s.
In 2018 Threadgill composed the string quartet Sixfivetwo for the Kronos Quartet, which they recorded as part of their "Fifty for the Future" project.
In 2016, Threadgill's composition In for a Penny, In for a Pound was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
In July 2016, he received the Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award at the VVA National Leadership Conference in Tucson.
"Run Silent, Run Deep, Run Loud, Run High" (conducted by Hale Smith) and "Mix for Orchestra" (conducted by Dennis Russell Davies), were both premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1987 and 1993 respectively. He has had commissions from Mordine & Company in 1971 and 1989, from Carnegie Hall for "Quintet for Strings and Woodwinds" in 1983 and 1985, the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1985, Bang on a Can All-Stars in 1995, "Peroxide" commissioned by the Miller Theatre Columbia University in 2003 for "Aggregation Orb", a commission from the Talujon Percussion Ensemble in 2008, a piece "Fly Fliegen Volar" commissioned and premiered at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival with the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg Orchestra in 2007, a premier of the piece "Mc Guffins" with Zooid at the Biennale Festival in Italy in 2004 to name some.
In October 2020, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced Threadgill as one of four recipients of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, celebrated in an online concert and show on 22 April 2021. Awarded in recognition of lifetime achievement, the honor is bestowed on individuals who have made significant contributions to the art form. The other 2021 recipients were Terri Lyne Carrington, Albert "Tootie" Heath, and Phil Schaap.
Threadgill was born in Chicago.He studied piano, flute, and composition at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and Governors State University, in University Park, Illinois. He was a member of the US Army Concert Band, and served in Vietnam. He is married to recording artist and ethnomusicologist Senti Toy, also known as Sentienla Toy Threadgill.
Henry Threadgill Sextett
Very Very Circus
Make a Move
Ensemble Double Up
14 or 15 Kestra: Agg
With Muhal Richard Abrams
With Anthony Braxton
With Chico Freeman
With Roscoe Mitchell
With Frank Walton
With David Murray
With Material / Bill Laswell
With Sly & Robbie / Bill Laswell
With Carlinhos Brown / Bill Laswell
With Leroy Jenkins
With Kip Hanrahan
With Billy Bang
With Abiodun Oyewole
With Flute Force Four (Threadgill, Pedro Eustache, Melecio Magdaluyo, James Newton)
With Douglas Ewart
With Jean-Paul Bourelly
With Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw
With Lucky Peterson
With Dafnis Prieto
With Wadada Leo Smith
With Jack DeJohnette
Muhal Richard Abrams was an American educator, administrator, composer, arranger, clarinetist, cellist, and jazz pianist in the free jazz medium. He recorded and toured the United States, Canada and Europe with his orchestra, sextet, quartet, duo and as a solo pianist. His musical affiliations constitute a "who's who" of the jazz world, including Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, Anthony Braxton, and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Roscoe Mitchell is an American composer, jazz instrumentalist, and educator, known for being "a technically superb – if idiosyncratic – saxophonist". The Penguin Guide to Jazz described him as "one of the key figures" in avant-garde jazz; All About Jazz stated in 2004 that he had been "at the forefront of modern music" for more than 35 years. Critic Jon Pareles in The New York Times has mentioned that Mitchell "qualifies as an iconoclast". In addition to his own work as a bandleader, Mitchell is known for cofounding the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith is an American trumpeter and composer, working primarily in the fields of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. He was one of three finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Ten Freedom Summers, released on May 22, 2012.
Pi Recordings is a jazz record label founded by Seth Rosner in 2001. He was joined as partner by Yulun Wang in 2002. Pi specializes in avant-garde jazz. Its first albums were by Henry Threadgill.
Fred Hopkins was a double bassist who played a major role in the development of the avant-garde jazz movement. He was best known for his association with the trio Air with Henry Threadgill and Steve McCall, and for his numerous performances and extensive recordings with major jazz musicians such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Arthur Blythe, Oliver Lake, and David Murray. He was a member of the AACM, and a frequent participant in the loft jazz scene of the 1970s. He also co-led a number of albums with the composer and cellist Diedre Murray. Gary Giddins wrote that Hopkins' playing "fused audacious power with mercuric reflexes." Howard Reich, writing in the Chicago Tribune, stated that "many connoisseurs considered [Hopkins] the most accomplished jazz bassist of his generation" and praised him for "the extraordinarily fluid technique, sumptuous tone and innovative methods he brought to his instrument."
Douglas R. Ewart is a multi-instrumentalist and instrument builder. He plays sopranino and alto saxophones, clarinets, bassoon, flute, bamboo flutes, and didgeridoo; as well as Rastafarian hand drums.
Amina Claudine Myers is an American jazz pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, and arranger.
Liberty Ellman is a jazz guitarist born in London and raised in the United States, beginning in New York City. In the early 1980s, Ellman's family moved to California. Before leaving New York, he attended City and Country School in Greenwich Village.
Thurman Barker is an American jazz drummer.
Novus Records was an American jazz record label run by Steve Backer. Backer worked at Impulse! Records until 1974, when Clive Davis, founder of Arista Records, asked him to oversee the jazz division at Arista.
X-75 Volume 1 is the debut album by Henry Threadgill released on the Arista Novus label in 1979. The album and features four of Threadgill's compositions performed by Threadgill with Douglas Ewart, Joseph Jarman, Wallace McMillan, Leonard Jones, Brian Smith, Rufus Reid, Fred Hopkins and vocals by Amina Claudine Myers. The Allmusic review by Brian Olewnick states, "Henry Threadgill's first album as a leader immediately plunged into experimental waters. He utilized a nonet the likes of which had certainly never been heard before and probably not since... Threadgill's massive talent for mid-size band arrangements is immediately apparent... As of 2002, X-75, Vol. 1 was unreleased on disc and, even more disappointingly, there was never a "Vol. 2." But Threadgill fans looking for a link between Air and his Sextett owe it to themselves to search this one out".
You Know the Number is an album by Henry Threadgill released on the RCA Novus label in 1986. The album and features six of Threadgill's compositions performed by Threadgill's Sextett with Frank Lacy, Rasul Siddik, Fred Hopkins, Diedre Murray, Pheeroan akLaff and Reggie Nicholson.
Easily Slip Into Another World is an album by saxophonist/composer Henry Threadgill, recorded for the RCA Novus label in 1987.
Up Popped the Two Lips is an album by Henry Threadgill featuring seven of Threadgill's compositions performed by Threadgill's Zooid. The album was the second album on the Pi Records label and was released simultaneously with Everybodys Mouth's a Book by Threadgill & Make a Move in 2001.
This Brings Us to Volume 1 is an album by Henry Threadgill featuring six of Threadgill's compositions performed by Threadgill's Zooid. The album, Threadgill's first in eight years besides the limited edition Pop Start the Tape, Stop (2005), was released on the Pi Recordings label in 2009.
In for a Penny, In for a Pound is an album composed by Henry Threadgill for his jazz quintet Zooid, featuring Jose Davila, Liberty Ellman, Christopher Hoffman, and Elliot Humberto Kavee. It was released by Pi Recordings and was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Reginald "Reggie" Nicholson is an American jazz drummer.
Jaribu Abdurahman Shahid is an American jazz bassist. He plays both double-bass and electric bass.
Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp is an album by American jazz saxophonist Henry Threadgill with his band Zooid, featuring Jose Davila on trombone and tuba, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on bass guitar, Elliot Humberto Kavee on drums, and new member Christopher Hoffman on cello, who joined the group making it a sextet. It was recorded in 2011 and released on Pi Recordings.
This Brings Us to Volume 2 is an album by American jazz saxophonist Henry Threadgill with his band Zooid, featuring Jose Davila on trombone and tuba, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on bass guitar, and Elliot Humberto Kavee on drums. It was recorded in 2008 and released on Pi Recordings.