MCOTD Hall of Famer—and, as of yesterday, Pulitzer Prize Winner.
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid
Live, Poland (Warsaw), 2011
Live, New York, 2013
Live, Washington, D.C., 2013
All music is classical music, you know. I don’t put up boundaries on music.
Of course I started out in an ethnic community, with the blues and church music and jazz. But that was just one place to start. You read fiction then you start reading nonfiction! You start reading biographies and scientific accounts. It doesn’t change where you came from. It just broadens it. That’s what we do, we keep building on the foundation where we come from. You don’t lose it, you just keep building on it.
I think we’ve gotten used to the dissonant, so it’s not even dissonant any more.
[W]e have no control over anything but what we do. I just try to stay hopeful: I don’t want to get too pessimistic about anything.
—Henry Threadgill, The Guardian, 4/18/16
the beat goes on
2,300 posts—and counting.
sounds of New Orleans
Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?
To Be Continued (TBC) Brass Band, live, New Orleans, 2012
MCOTD Hall of Fame
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid,* live, Washington, D.C., 2013
Nothings’s a Gift
by Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012; translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak)
Nothing’s a gift, it’s all on loan.
I’m drowning in debts up to my ears.
I’ll have to pay for myself
with my self,
give up my life for my life.
Here’s how it’s arranged:
The heart can be repossessed,
the liver, too,
and each single finger and toe.
Too late to tear up the terms,
my debts will be repaid,
and I’ll be fleeced,
or, more precisely, flayed.
I move about the planet
in a crush of other debtors.
Some are saddled with the burden
of paying off their wings.
Others must, willy-nilly,
account for every leaf.
Every tissue in us lies
on the debit side.
Not a tentacle or tendril
is for keeps.
The inventory, infinitely detailed,
implies we’ll be left
not just empty-handed
but handless too.
I can’t remember
where, when, and why
I let someone open
this account in my name.
We call the protest against this
And it’s the only item
not included on the list.
the beat goes on
Two thousand posts—and counting.
*HT (flute, alto saxophone), Liberty Ellman (guitar), Jose Davila (tuba, trombone), Christopher Hoffman (cello), Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums).
MCOTD Hall of Fame
Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy (LB, trumpet; Steve Turre, trombone; Frank Lacy, trombone; Bob Stewart, tuba; Phillip Wilson, drums, et al.), live, Berlin, 1986
genius at play
Henry Threadgill (alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader) leading a master class (excerpt), Big Indian, N.Y. (Creative Music Studio), 2014
Henry Threadgill and His Very Very Circus, “Too Much Sugar for a Dime,” live, New York, c. 1993
Today Henry, who’s been lifting my spirits for over three decades, enters the MCOTD Hall of Fame, joining tenor saxophonist Von Freeman, trumpeter Lester Bowie, poets John Berryman, William Bronk, and Wislawa Szymborska, and gospel singer Dorothy Love Coates.
art beat: more from Friday at the Art Institute of Chicago
Claude Monet (1840-1926), Irises (1914/17)
One of my favorite musical events begins tonight: the annual Bach Festival on WKCR (Columbia University), which runs through midnight New Year’s Eve.
Need a lift?
Charles Ives (1874-1954), Ragtime Dance No. 4 (1904)
Alarm Will Sound, live, New York, 2013
Orchestra New England, recording, 1990
As I remember some of the dances as a boy, and also from father’s description of some of the old dancing and fiddle playing, there was more variety of tempo than in the present-day dances. In some parts of the hall a group would be dancing in polka, while in another, a waltz. Some of the players in the band would, in an impromptu way, pick up with the polka, and some with the waltz, and some with a march. Often the piccolo or cornet would throw in asides. Sometimes a change in tempo, or a mixed rhythm would be caused by a fiddler who, after playing three or four hours steadily, was getting a little sleepy. Or maybe another player was seated too near the hard cider barrel. Whatever the reason for these changes and simultaneous playing of things, I remember distinctly catching a kind of music that was natural and interesting and which was decidedly missed when everybody came down ‘blimp’ on the same beat again.
sounds of Chicago
8 Bold Souls,* live, Poland (Poznan), 2009
*Edward Wilkerson Jr., reeds; Mwata Bowden, reeds; Tomeka Reid, cello; Isaiah Jackson, trombone; Gerald Powell, tuba; Robert Griffin, trumpet; Harrison Bankhead, bass; Dushun Mosley, drums.