Interview with Henry Threadgill (1
Thanks to Peggy Sutton for commissioning the following for Jazz on 3. Steve Weiss was the engineer, Ben Gerrish did the transciption, and Bradley Bambarger supplied editorial assistance. Part one is about music. Part two is about Vietnam, and features audio: You've got to hear him tell these war stories himself. Part three is about music. "Four Hits and the Ultramodern Blues" discusses five favorite tunes. Henry Threadgill: So, tell me something about your show. Ethan Iverson: We’re taping for the BBC radio program Jazz on 3. I have interviewed Gunther Schuller, Keith Jarrett and Django Bates already. HT: How long ago did you interview Gunther Schuller? EI: About a year ago. Do you know Gunther? HT: Yes, I met Gunther. God, it’s been so long ago, and I haven’t seen him in years. I met him when he was at Dartmouth. I guess that was . . . maybe 1969 or '70 or something like that. Richard Davis was there at that time. EI: Oh, right. Another Chicago person. So many great musicians out of Chicago. HT: Oh, yeah, you got a Midwest full of great musicians. EI: Gunther Schuller – that’s an interesting entry point. You are unafraid of classical music resources. HT: Yeah. . . EI: Some jazz guys would feel that classical music was off-limits. HT: . . . I’m not jazz, though. EI: That’s right!
HT: That was a period. Cassandra Wilson just said that scatting belonged to a period that’s over, and it’s true. The idea of jazz was a period, too, and if you allow the word to become bigger, it's always an expanding proposition. You gotta remember something about black music in America. People start in the wrong places in trying to put together the history of black music. When you go back to the blues in the Delta, there was no prototype, there was no template, there was no European example on how to formulate anything. The people just made that music from an aesthetic that they had that came with them from Africa. They lost any containers or forms or approaches other than the aesthetic. When you look, you see that there was no music that the slaves created basically prior to the Civil War. Do you know the reason for that? EI: Sometimes they weren’t allowed to have instruments. HT: Well, they were playing banjo, they was beatin’ on the jawbone, it was just things that was scraped together. . . but their introduction to Western instruments came about because of the Civil War. Remember the North and the South had bands; they had military bands in the North and the South, but these people weren’t professional musicians. When the war was over, they came back to the places that they came from with these band instruments, but they weren’t playing them anymore; and this was the advent of pawn shops. They dropped these instruments off in pawn shops because they were broke. Now it was possible for anybody, a poor black, white, or anything else to pick up an instrument for a dollar, or fifty cents…a used instrument for fifty cents, so there’s a violin, there’s a trumpet in the window. EI: These were ex-military instruments? HT: Yes, these were band instruments. You see that these band instruments are what the black musicians were playing at first. Not the orchestral instruments, but the concert band instruments. Because that’s what we had in America was the concert band. That’s why we have
pagodas set up for these concerts. Especially all across the Midwest. (Not so much out here.) EI: Sure, the little town I grew up in Wisconsin had a pagoda. That’s something you were supposed to do on a Friday night: cut the grass and then go see the band. HT: So, the introduction to these instruments is the beginning of learning how to move their musical thinking into that arena. Right? Now, the entire experience of the slave was one of assimilation. Assimilation of anything! It didn’t matter: Chinese, French, Spanish, whatever it was. It was the acquisition of all information in systems and knowledge and communication. And that was without discrimination. It was just grab hold of something and learn how to do it in some kind of way and put your thing through it. Look at Scott Joplin. He wasn’t really emulating anything from Europe. At all! As a matter of fact, when he wrote Treemonisha, it was simultaneous with the advent of Schoenberg’s sprechstimme, and sprechstimme was present in Treemonisha.
"Confusion. I don’t care how sophisticated it becomes.(Scott Joplin. the folk element was the basis of any music. I do exactly the way I feel.
. They don’t deal in form. You know like a sonata form or a fugue form? They do not do it. EI: Guys like Edward MacDowell don’t hold up that great today. I know you’re a boogie woogie fan! Whatever Pete Johnson does exists in sort of an irreplaceable moment. Folk elements all around the world. HT: MacDowell and Horatio Parker and the rest were students of European music. HT: It’s totally different. It took a very long time for the composers to turn to the folk elements. and that’s it. his creation is much harder to play than any étude by Chopin." composed in 1910) And Joplin had no contact with Europe in any kind of way. Technically and spiritually. Look how long it took for what we call an American school of music. And that aesthetic is so much different than the European in terms of form. First of all. I think that angle doesn’t get enough respect. right? But back to your question about what I use and what I’m not afraid to use: I’m saying all these things to say that I’ve always understood how music got created here in America. actually. It just happens. no. For music -.in addition to drumming and rhythm and things like this -there’s an aesthetic in African art. This guy’s totally isolated and he’s just making music from an aesthetic. and that I was under no obligation to do any particular thing. most African music has nothing to do with form. And [pre-Ives classical composing] Americans were skipping that. You really don’t get to it until Charles Ives. HT: Right! Because there’s too much relating things back to the European format. EI: It makes me think of someone like Pete Johnson. whatever I want to do. finale of Act 1 to Treemonisha. EI: It comes from a completely differently angle. That was also the basis of European music.
. tick.I approach it through the word the Germans use for rehearsing: probe. in order to get it played. Not to read something straight through and go in like. which is in search of. He did exactly what he felt like doing. See. they still make it fit into that European container. Grant Still or Kay. and always had one drummer that played this far behind the beat and another drummer that played almost ahead of the beat. They play right in the middle on the beat. But now. either. they’re not getting up off of that and going with the other model. Our beat has a width to it. everybody read it and everybody pay the permit to get up and go home.. Somebody might have heard the name of William Grant Still or Ulysses Kay. This has been going on for a long time." I mean improvising musicians. . And when I get a commission. The reason for that is they’re still using a European model. Now when I had the Sextett. HT: The word has to expand. I don’t want any more commissions from American orchestras that are not ready to do what I want to do and go in the direction I’m going in. tick. Their beat is so thin it’s like tick.That’s probably why I love Debussy so much. EI: And forget about the rhythm when you get one of those orchestras! HT: It sounds so square. but myself -. but not really. they tried to make their music fit into that European model. not all of them. EI: To go back to this idea that jazz was a moment. Because we don’t process music the way they process music. So the beat is that
. even though he was European. We don’t play music with the size beat that they play it. I used two drummers. We process music -. well. we know nothing about all of the black classical orchestral writers.when I say "we. . But something that has happened in my time that never existed before: All of the composers know people like me and Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams. They are just left out of history basically.and learn something.
EI: I love how he tunes his drums. you hear those different tunings that I’m using. so you could lay information in quite differently. Steve. he had his own tuning when I didn’t have things called for specific tunings. I think it’s a very beautiful sound out of the kit. I was always comfortable with
. Mario Bauza told me about the wrassling match when the modern jazz guys came in and tried to play with the Latin cats in 40’s. in a very short period of time you’re not going to have much dynamic orchestrally – time or color wise. that’s legitimate! There’s nothing wrong with that. You got a lot of room for laying information. well. The way he personally played behind the beat. what can I tell you about Steve McCall? EI: Anything you want. Mario said that not even Diz or Dexter Gordon could do that.wide. I had to learn how to play with guys that rushed the beat. like Steve McCall. With just reeds. I know a lot of things about Steve McCall. played ahead of the beat. but Charlie Parker could. When you play jazz and Latin music. and that’s the same thing that happens in Latin music. That’s why Air was able to have a certain dynamic. bass and drums. you have to take the beat and the time from the drummer. And if you listen to the first Air record. and that narrow band does not allow you to express anything. I was never comfortable with people who played on the beat. And I’ve learned from being around Ahmad Jamal about the tuning of those drums. not the conductor. That only works with the European model. HT: A lot of music that Air played called for certain tunings. HT: Well. Of course. The conductor keeps those people in that narrow band. He’s a great musician. an intuitive musician. you have to be more specific. but as soon as Bird stopped the wrassling match would begin again. tell me about some of your drummers. HT: Oh. EI: Well. The clave and the swing wouldn’t mix! Bauza said that Charlie Parker could bring the music together.
there were key people in that orchestra who made that sound. He knew something about the Dutch. HT: He could be quiet. football teams and basketball teams.kind of a Midwestern thing behind the beat. went to Africa with Don Byas. EI: What was Fred Hopkins like as a person? He looks so gentle in the photos. The musicians realize the blueprint. bagging groceries and doing things like that. and Fred Hopkins was the youngest. HT: He was the first one of us in Europe. That’s how its done. he was a senior. I found out that he played when I heard him playing one day in the building next to me. I
. HT: He is an incredible bass player. It's always that way. EI: I heard that Steve McCall really knew the street side of things. Herschel Evans. he was working in the A&P. or whoever was back there. He had lived in Paris. with some great key players. The Duke Ellington Orchestra would not have sounded like that with just anybody in the orchestra. The way Lester Young played behind the beat. Their ability to open up your blueprint is what brings a work to life. he knew everybody. He played with Archie Shepp. HT: You make music the same way you have baseball teams. EI: Whenever I see a photo of Fred Hopkins. he had lived in Holland. he knew a lot about the French and the Germans. Fred Hopkins is essential for many of your greatest records. and sometimes they'll just look at the leader’s name on the date. then he could be pretty wild – when he was having fun especially! I met Fred when he was living next door to me. McCall was the oldest. It's just like sports – it's a team effort. People forget that. By the time we moved to Europe. when I moved on 49th Street in Chicago. Count Basie without Lester. I was in the middle. EI: For me. and when Archie and all of them got there. No one knew who was. I think this is the most handsome man! He really has a great look. The same way. With the Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock.
All those things came to New York. Those weren’t his references.
. later called 99 Rooms. Hopkins played with you in the Sextett as well. It was a pretty wild period. EI: It’s true that Hopkins has something in there like an older jazz. a great period for theater in Chicago. Pops Foster-type of feel.passed him and wondered who was playing the bass because I liked the way he played. a volume of piano music and a volume of songs. He gave me two books of Scott Joplin music. The first day that we started playing. and Steve came back from Europe and moved a little farther down the street. for saxophone. Like when Greaseand all that stuff came out on North Lincoln Avenue. He wanted me to use some rags in them. bass. and drums playing rags. EI: I think Aklaff is someone who really understands how to bring pop and other grooves that feel really good and authentic in a sort of wild context. we played the rags that I started orchestrating. although he loved all the great bass players like Wilbur Ware. so I put the trio together. No one ever picked up that anything was written. So Fred developed a sound and a way of playing that was not coming from playing jazz standards or Broadway show standards. What about Pheeroan Aklaff? HT: He and John Betch were the first two drummers in the Sextett. you have to love Wilbur Ware! Part of how Fred developed his sound was working on the Joplin music. I was doing things on the North Side of Chicago. like experimental dance companies and experimental theater groups. HT: That was the period when no one ever wrote about what I was doing with the drums. anyway. We started talking at that time. Fred was from Chicago: if you come from Chicago. There was nothing to listen to. for those two drummers. That was more drum music I had ever written in my life. This director asked me to write the music for a show called Hotel Diplomat.
right? HT: Everything was written. so that when the other parts come in. and the drums are tuned to those pitches too. It was almost like having 10 timpani on stage. One is tuned in fourths and the other tuned in fifths. That's the sort of thing you are talking about. You listen to any records with two drummers playing. EI: No. Bass drum." The first minute or so there are absolutely no drums.” We sounded big because of the orchestration. minus one note. there are only cymbals. because the bass is tuned in fourths and the cello is tuned in fifths. D. EI: So you wrote out parts for both of them? Wow! HT: Yes! EI: I didn’t realize it was that extensive. So let's say a bass drum. The pre-orchestration is the sound of the drums themselves. That means there are six drums for each set. Keep this in mind now that I told you about it when you listen to the Sextett records. two floor toms. just like every string part was written. two floor toms. because we also carried two concert bass drums. A.EI: I noticed "The Theme from Thomas Cole. . The drums were tuned so that I had all 12 pitches. listen to those recordings. See how the
. but otherwise. and when you have the bass with E. don't you? Sympathetic vibrations! E-A-D is a huge note because it has been activated. it goes to a whole new level. sometimes we didn't. Sometimes we used them. The open strings on the bass open can be like a sitar. it's this blank canvas. I think we were in Berlin and Roy Haynes said something like. . So I can get almost the entire chromatic scale. HT: Well. that’s four. HT: Both sets were tuned so that chromatically I could get the entire scale. and then you listen to the Sextett record – see the width and size of the scale of the drums and how it impacts those instruments. There was one specific snare drum hit from one of them. if you ever noticed that. G. you know what you have. snare. two upper toms. “It wasn't a big band but it sounded big.
the job of the conductor is to lift the music up off the paper. I can't keep up with the instruments if the writing becomes too demanding. EI: That's the element you can’t get with classical musicians. and then I go to my instruments. Sometimes I hear an element on the records that suggests you are almost reading it in the studio. start on the second beat. and then this guy plays this note wrong. it's a way of processing music. the drums are tuned. HT: Well.instruments blend in with these drums. Tiny structural errors and stuff like that. I go into rehearsal to look for its discovery. "Hey. when someone doesn’t play 'cause they forgot to come in. let's start at measure two. In Africa. You must get up and write music everyday. your wife or your girlfriend knows. I have to do one at a time. That's a lot of music. At least we have the records. heavily tuned. Bush and All? Everything is tuned. I am playing. You know. Also. did you write out a score.” I say. a good conductor deals with the acoustics of the room. two weeks and you know. What's on paper is a place to start. that's discovery. I write. and then I say. A poor conductor follows the metronome markings while disregarding the acoustical information. Did you listen to Rag. Well. no. "Oh. and then have a copyist do the parts? HT: I didn't have any copyist! EI: So you wrote a score and the parts for everybody. three weeks and everybody knows. because it's not all on the paper. HT: No one has ever written about that. I have friends who can do both. When you wrote for the group. EI: Live music is the best music. Is it true that you would come into the studio with new music? HT: No. I can’t do both. So I just say. and someone thinks I mean start on the second beat." Also.
. EI: You wrote so much for that band. and I really wish I could have seen the Sextett live. I can only write at certain times. in order keep up with these instruments. In orchestral music. you don't play for one week. really? Just keep it like that.
The music is totally modular because what is here can be here or what is here can be there because this is what we discover in discovery. Well. it isn’t. I had abandoned the major/minor system. the cellist. the musicians are so crucial. The band started with Taruy Brevrey on oud. These little things you were talking about. Tell me about the cast in Zooid. We rehearsed for a year before we appeared. Liberty Ellman on acoustic guitar. form is in process with me.” affect form. but you can’t take the music that we are making and apply it to that standard. I do the same thing. The European template is a different way of assembling and processing the music. I needed to go another way with improvising to have people play more spontaneously. counterpoint and getting rid of the method of improvisation that has lasted for a long time. It wasn't about the difficulty
. This is what needs to be brought out by music analysts and musicologists. EI: In this mutable music. So it took them a year to learn this language. I gather information and then I process the way I process. “Is that a European method?" No.A good conductor processes the hall. The same thing happens in research labs where most of the discoveries are made through mistakes. Before Zooid I had been working on interior parts in advancing harmony. Dany Leon on trombone and cello. Now with Zooid. where people would write things about what I am doing or what someone else is doing and say. I come to rehearsal with much material that is written out. They are two different worlds. Everything is written out. This has been going on for a long time and has caused major confusion. and it appeared on the first Pi record with Brandon Ross and Stomu Takeishi. HT: Christopher Hoffman is with us now. but it also doesn’t mean a thing. José Davila on trombone and tuba and Elliot Kavee on drums. People keep that as a standard. the “mistakes. but that's only a starting point. but I process the form. he just joined as the sixth member. It was impossible to appear otherwise because when I left off with Make a Move. now form itself is in a state of improvisation.
and the father makes so many children. F-sharp. in my world. maybe. HT: No. You hear this harmony. you see what I'm saying. but you haven't played anything recent music at the piano. but the harmony is an illusion. EI: It must have to do with intervals. One piece of harmony can have as many as 14 faces. that you are listening to. That's why I said that one thing can have 14 manifestations of itself. your brothers and sisters. I'm speaking in terms of harmony. You have played some of my older music. but we aren't really playing it. a brown eye and a blue eye. I can get as many as 14 children. EI: This sounds like tri-chords. Some of them got one ear. One is feminine and one is masculine. like your brothers. no one can really depend on anyone else. brown eyes and a big thumb. You. absolutely not. Let’s stay with the idea of children. Now everything is truly independent. G-sharp. mother and father all share DNA. so the mother creates so many children. C Major and C minor are the same thing. always.
. This has nothing to do with major/minor substitution. EI: What do you mean by that? HT: Let's say the sound of C. E. F.but to learn the language and a type of independence. everybody has got one ear. I like harmony. all of them -. but it's true with everything that's moving. HT: It has to do with intervals. C. it is the same thing. It can have the sound of F-sharp. This family is like your biological family. A -. Counterpoint is there. sisters. it can have the face of G. There are three factors in this family. they got more than that. but interval groups that are born from two parents. and we aren't improvising on it. If 15 children. E-flat. three eyes.because it comes from a family.about reading the notes – these guys could read fly paper. It can have the sound of E-flat. Collective improvisation has been an important thing to me. Between the two of them. I haven't abandoned anything. C-sharp.
whatever the series is.” It’s not like religion. your music with Zooid reminds me of late Stravinsky. because if you understand what you can and cannot do. they can do anything they want to do. It's not like I am practicing a part of the Catholic
. and now I'm beginning to understand why. we can take a lot of liberties because that is what the musicians have learned how to do. Now. and everything that is happening is moving according to voice leading.] I was trying to learn some of "Polymorph. EI: I can perceive order on the Zooid records. everything is moving according to that. and the next eight. then that means you can do everything since you understand those two things. There is no random voice leading.EI: [To “audition” for this interview. when you start to follow the contrapuntal lines. then four. If there is no minor second and I play a minor second. after he embraced composing with intervals in a nonmajor/minor kind of way. and every one of them is different and they exist for period of time. and the next four. Now the players with me. and the next one is seven. but when we improvise. I destroy the interior of everything. When you make art. five notes. and it's interesting to hear that it's so well organized. In a way. moving in counterpoint. you can't say “you can't use that” or “can't use this. The written music that's on the paper. Not necessarily every interval that is up there. this is a series of intervals. EI: It doesn't sound like 12-tone music. you have a series of notes. but there is set of numbers of intervals. Well. In serialism. They still have their freedom. and the next one three. the first series is five. HT: Students from universities have studied some of my earlier work. you see that everyone is starting to play something different." but it was beyond me. but is it spiritually aligned with having a system like that? HT: It has nothing to do with serialism at all. I played a little bit of Threadgill music on the phone to him the previous day. Could be 12 notes. but that was when I was writing in the major/minor system. HT: Stravinsky used everything he found.
I have also been listening to Stomu on these Zooid records. Rock and Roll sprang up because new elements here were kind of being denied. when you get into Appalachian-American and Hillbilly Music. See. I am listening to the way they organize sound in Bali and the way they organize sound in South India.
. Yes. with the American Experience.liturgy. The dedication of these musicians to the music is 150% all the time. I think Stomu is a phenomenal bass player. I don't write anything for Elliot [Humberto Kavee] anymore. and everyone else in America was doing the same thing. . America was isolated in the first place. how America is thinking. How they were breaking out of a type of isolationism and also a type of imitation-ism as well. Whatever I can learn from that. That’s because I never allow the drums to play in the meter I am playing in. people are going to object to that. Finally. It's very difficult to figure out what we're doing. This is one of the best groups I have ever had. In their process. in the way they process. EI: Talking about Fred Hopkins. Black Americans didn't look to Europe as a template. you see the beginning of the roots of the material of another experience in America. The interesting people like Ives and Copland: when you read their writing. because it sounds like we are playing in ¼. I have never had a group this size with this type of commitment. black people and Chinese people had the American spirit. . other than imitating Europe. ever. It's quite incredible. We started to learn things and process things in their own isolated way. These guys are at rehearsal on time or before me. I learn from that and integrate it. That won’t happen. too. maybe a note here and there. and then I’m over into some stuff from the Hebrew world and then I shoot over to Buddhism . they are saying what is going on in America. which I grew up with. and there seems to be a connection in the way that the bass sounds. EI: There is no downbeat. they are telling you about the thinking in America at that time. but white Americans almost forgot about it! They didn't have any information after they left Europe. HT: All of these players – I have been really lucky.
I don't need drums to play in the same meter the band is playing in because that's really redundant. the first beat. Beat to beat. I was lucky with the Sextett. everything in music. dollar to a dollar. Boxing or barring music for me is over. "The section in 5/4. and this is coming next. I don't know where you heard that!” because basically I think in ¼.” and I say. HT: Well. . . and the first accent and the secondary accent. What I found very difficult in that stage of my life in New York was to get people spend time with as a group. They come here not to woodshed with anybody. everything in dance. You have had so much tuba in your music for so many years. EI: I can understand! HT: Not that there weren’t bass players. “We would. and that's really what I want. You don't know. but I still had Fred and I had Muneer Abdul Fataah before Diedre Murray.” and the band would say. So now you lose all meter. everything in theater. Unfortunately. You come to New York. EI: Tell me about the tuba. everything in architecture. everything in literature. In bars of 4/4 to the next bar of 4/4 or bar 4/4 to bar of something else you feel the demarcation. you see and feel division. I couldn’t find any more bass players. In rhythm. It inserted itself into the picture in the form of some kind of physicality that takes away from the big picture.
. The flow is everything in film. after the period with Fred. We had gotten our program together and came here. he left to move to Europe. and people are finished because they think that they've finished their process. I don't want any sense of meter because when you sense meter. It gets in the way of the flow.HT: You can't tell. not the trees. “I'd like to know where that was. We didn’t come here to get our stuff together. It's funny when people say things like. they talk about secondary beat. that’s what you get. When you put meter against meter. The demarcation has interrupted the flow. too. We [Air] came here as a group and we woodshedded before we came. Muneer he didn’t get a chance to record with us. This is over. penny to penny. but I couldn't find anybody that. You want to see the forest.
and I had no sympathetic anything with them.] This is what happened: I formed in the Wind String Quintet. they went. So that tuba goes back to the Wind String Quintet. I wasn’t coming from the European concept of a String Quartet and adding woodwind. and Leroy Jenkins. I didn't like the bass response time in this kind of context. cello and bass. and all over. Also. I didn't have no brass. Corey Dixon. Marcus Rojas learned how to play. The Wind String Quintet never got recorded.] The Wind String group. It was
. and Tom Buckner always would put us on his Interpretation series. EI: I hope those come out sometime. it started off with Bob Stewart. HT: We played Town Hall. The tuba can lock into the wind world in terms of orchestration! I had four strings over there. it's the oldest group I have outside of Air.[Back to tuba. whatever. [1990’s Flutistry by the Flute Force Four. great string players like Diedre Murray. and I was looking for a different kind of blend. the same material that I had in terms of the instrument. I was coming from some place else. I had Marcus Garvey’s grandson in there. no sympathetic material. I had three or four commissions from Carnegie Hall that most people don’t even know about. and I put a tuba. He didn't even improvise when I found Marcus. I still have the scores and the tapes. EI: Was it related to the X-75 stuff? No? HT: No. it was violin. no gold. In the jazz world. I did a lot of music for the Wind String Quintet. EI: Do you still have the scores? HT: Yes. When I first started writing for it. With the tuba. I had all kind of players in there. The tuba was the only thing that had the material. viola. No one was ever gonna give me a recording date with that! It took us forever to get a recording date with the flute quartet. he came through the Wind String. "What is this flute quartet?" Took Bonandrini to allow us to make a record for him. I had brass and that could lock in another kind of way. It didn't work with the bass. I did a lot of theater and dance things with them over the years. with me playing woodwind.
I’m not interested in what other musicians pick up from it. They bass and tuba can play close to each other or really far apart. with quarter tones. and it sits in there like a ghost. but he is from Connecticut originally. I was hearing something. EI: Sounds like with the tuba you get to move those strings around a bit more. bass.already strange because the string quartet would have been two violins. I told him I can't have an electric sound where I am going. The bass can’t blend and go from section from section quickly like the tuba can.
. it can blend into the strings section. Stomu played that acoustic electric bass. going to school in Connecticut. viola. that's why I went to the oud. really. EI: It seems to me that you look forward. two octaves above the bass. José Davila? Where is he from? HT: He's Puerto Rican. It can go into the brass section and come out the wind section and go into the string section. I couldn’t drag that on over to this new sound. He grew up in New York after coming here. listening to these high tuba parts. I don't want an electric sound. but I had violin. all by itself. I was trying to approach the expansion of the octave. incrementally. and I was finished with that. because it was a whole other sound. he was playing the electric bass.) I did electric with Very Very Circus and Make a Move. HT: And his trombone playing is on another world. (It can be amplified. cello. When he first came. and then I took the bass out and replaced it with a tuba. but I have a need for my palette. We been working on expanding the octave for a little while. a viola and a cello. EI: I have laughed many times listening to your records. HT: Yes. EI: He sounds great on those records. but I got him to start playing this acoustic instrument because of the sound. you move forward.
what do you listen to?" I mean. I never got a chance to see Albert Ayler. and just kind of wide open. "What's wrong with you? Don't you think I'm standing here to find out from you?” [He’d say:] "Who do you like. I mean on every level: personal life. I said. I didn't know him. what are you talking about. HT: It was real. why are you here. [laughs] EI: [checks time: 73 minutes. That's just the type of person that he was. but didn't know how to start that conversation. it's destructive. He was acting like I was his peer or something. I knew Trane: he was really something. you know?” The guy's asking me what am I practicing. --(I had really wanted to ask Threadgill about Vietnam.HT: That’s the only place for me to look. a bit of an enigma.. I figured out a long time ago that going back for me is always a mistake .) 05/16/2011 --EI: Did you know Albert Ayler? HT: No. “Are you crazy? I'm 16. that's my department. everything – going backward does not work for me. All of my mistakes have been made going backwards. 17. EI: Dewey Redman told me something similar about hanging out with Coltrane. what's going on? What are you practicing?"
. but it was hard to understand him sometimes. That's what I'm supposed to be asking. He would just pry you open: "Why do you like Ornette. you know. What the fuck is the problem here? This guy's taking over all my questions.] That might have been the right note to end on unless you want to keep going. A highly spiritual man. I met Trane when I was a kid in Chicago.. just about 16. I could listen to him. Go on to part two.
And this guy saw me. That shit would destroy me. on the first row there. why don't you just come on with me and hear some music with me?” I said. Arthur Rubinstein sitting right there. man. I just had to write a report. I used to sit up in front of the Chicago Symphony. but live music man. because I heard so much live music. I'm talking about all music. I mean. playing in front of you. The most powerful experience you ever have in your life is a live experience. OK -. I was right here. I've been here. I'm talking about jazz and classical music. that orchestra was hip. Records have their role. "Yes. “Well. any classical music. where they had one o’clock concerts on Friday afternoon. some of the doors were closing. auditorium. “Go
. When's the last time you saw something about a live performance? I'm not just talking about jazz." We’re talking and walking along.” He said. Here’s a good story: I had an assignment to go hear some music when I was 18. that ain't records. records. And I didn't know who was playing or anything. on the ground floor. you know.” And we come in backstage. nothing will transform you like a live music experience. I was thinking yesterday about these peoples' blogs. “Wow. I was panicking: you don't just go on in there.What could I be practicing? [sarcastically:] “You know. man. and I couldn't get in this auditorium. He said. I said. Most of the young musicians have never had the exposure to live music that I was able to have. Fritz Reiner was right there. You know. “What is it? What's wrong?” I said.You gonna hear some music?” He said. and reviews and stuff talking about records. you know your way around back here. I can't tell you how much. Trane! The fakebook. Trane! The rulebook. the sweat would get on you. he said. “Well. Live music is it. records. I had to sit on the edge of the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Gene Ammons right in front of you. I wish I had met him. So I went down to Roosevelt University. “I'm trying to get into this concert. Because you said something about how live music is it. You stand up in front of Coltrane. It's a small room. “Yeah. the universal book. you know? It's kind of sad. Trane!” But Albert. and he says.
so I got to see everything. they played only the most advanced stuff. He thought we were the stupidest people on earth. This was at basically same time as Ralph Shapey. HT: Yeah! So the AACM was existing side by side with them in the University of Chicago area. Yeah. have a seat. I used to invite her to things. It's Arthur Rubinstein. too?” I turn around. all of the contemporary guys. I was gonna say. and I wanted
. That Contemporary Chamber Players orchestra. I heard Berio. Henry. EI: Shapey's own music was great. She used to be up on the Upper East Side. They weren't at those concerts. “Oh. and I turn around and I see him going toward the piano. I only met him just a little bit at the contemporary music center. they would listen to what we were doing. We were listening to them. but they wouldn't admit it. EI: What was Hindemith like? HT: Ah. So I heard all of this music while other guys were practicing out of fake books and how to play Coltrane. “Well. I heard all that music live.” Schillinger wrote a book on how to choreograph.” I'm coming back. because that orchestra was hip. but we were listening to everything that was going on then. So I heard Rubinstein and all of them at the University of Chicago right on the spot. as the Contemporary Chamber Players. I'm just about in the first seat.down here. and they wouldn't let me see it. you know I heard all his stuff played live by probably best players in that world at that time. I was in touch with Joseph Schillinger’s wife a long time. It never got printed.. Hindemith. ain't you gonna come. Schoenberg. the library there. I met Hindemith and Varese. Lincoln Center got it. and they were listening to us. Shapey would. and she'd say. EI: Did you like his music? HT: Yeah. I'm too old. too. I come across it.. he really didn't like Americans.
EI: So that's a system that's been valuable for you. I was playing in real blues bands. and forced into a bigger
. because jazz musicians didn't hire me. I didn't really meet those people who were trying to play tunes or like Sonny Rollins or whoever. too. the jazz players. Latin bands. and I did copy it. Actually. I was into dance. “Well. Those guys didn't know who the fuck Berio was. parade bands. Chicago was like. he can't play. if you have the ability to think laterally! When people close the door on you they've actually opened up more doors. “Oh. They didn't think I knew anything about music. Threadgill there has my permission to see anything that you have in your possession. Or they didn't even know about Strauss. HT: Oh. I was in the house band at the Blue Flame. so I called her and said. And I played in parade bands. I was shut out of the traditional people's world.to see what he had come up with. That never bothered me. “Oh. It was a longer process becoming a musician. And I played in polka bands on clarinet. checking out music. I kept going there every so often. the best thing that can happen to you sometimes is to be rejected." Stravinsky or Messiaen. They wouldn't let me see it. church bands. mariachi bands. I was getting the bigger and better musical education. I've always been into dance and theater. playing in polka bands. Much to my benefit. you know.” so the dance community hired me and the theater community hired me and I was playing in the blues band with Left Hand Frank and all those people. I was really getting a musical education. I made my living in dance and theater before I left Chicago. HT: Well. he writes waltzes?” [Sarcastically:] "Yeah. who do you know?” She called them and said. EI: Sounds like you got the last laugh on that one. who were they? I never saw the jazz crowd at the concert hall. Because otherwise I would just be playing [scats “Scrapple from the Apple” and “Donna Lee”] or whatever that scoobie-doobie shit that they were doing. basically. “Mr.” They wouldn't let me copy it. he writes waltzes.
your experiences. Then when the kabuki came in front of me. He did it! You’ve got to find something else. You'll never express what Lizst expressed when he sat down and played. that narrow world I started out in. I discovered that when I was young. I was a Sonny Rollins fanatic when I came in here. like Wadada and Roscoe Mitchell. That's one thing that you'll see in all of our backgrounds. You won't be able to do it because it's tied to a life. The first time an orchestra set up in front of me I was so transformed I didn't know what to do. 15 years old. Music is everything that you've learned in a life. your hardships. All
. I don't care how much you learn about it. it's your family. your bad days – it's tied into all of that. You can't do it. we all came in like this [indicates “small”]. Art has an emotional. You can only play that music you learned. Not only me. not the way they did it. but you'll never be able to compete with Oscar Peterson or Bill Evans or anyone else who played that music. You can't do that. I was destroyed. You're not able to do it. social. you know? I learned that I never can do that. So it's a longer journey now than when I started out being impressed with Sonny Rollins and Lester Young. EI: Right. your good days. your friends. You'll never be able to express what Bud Powell expressed. the picture's that big. HT: And young musicians right now don't understand that. but these other people who ended up in the AACM. all of a sudden. And young musicians waste their time practicing and practicing and practicing. thinking they're going to get up there and play something that Dizzy GIllespie played. I always knew I wasn't going to play that other music. It's tied to the times. Next thing you know. because I couldn't play that music in the first place. All you can do is practice something that's not from your time. Nobody could play that music but the people that lived it. Music comes out of a social context. psychological and spiritual content that's tied to you being born in history at that time.world that takes up a lot more time. But. the whole picture changed when Ornette and Cecil appeared.
Booker Little. it's just wonderful what the New School and Berklee can teach people about technique. The integrity of it becomes a real reality when it becomes a part of your time. we heard that Ornette shit and we said. and they brought it up to a height. It's always that way. You can't bring to the product of another period the necessary investment in terms of the emotion and the psychology and the experience to lift it up to that level. I'm too young to be a part of that. Only the people from that time can do that. what's there for me? Because this is kind of empty. All of that is in the psyche of the artist. And when you get into another period. Frank Strozier. We were sitting up there practicing “Daahoud” and we knew in our hearts that wasn't going nowhere. Maybe at something else you will be able to do. because there's a cut off spot. and they come out believing that they're going to accomplish what these other people accomplished. but not that. all these people bring these things to a height. Man. Chopin brought it to a height. You're not. your family. your schooling. people are just using young people in these schools.of that comes into play when you express something. think again. making them pay to learn jazz and stuff and to achieve a level of excellence. Not at that. They were the best of the players at that time. So. All of a sudden. but we were too young for that. and some of those people inherited that stuff. we were all playing music as kids. I'm on the far side of that. and it's all about everything in your life. you know. and I'll never forget. your friends. your ups and downs. At that period. “Man. there it is.” There's the voice of new possibility. Now. If you think that performance with Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie in Paris can be topped. man. but they're still misleading them into giving up all their time into thinking that you're going to play something that Coltrane played or that Lester Young or Wayne Shorter or somebody played – music that was particular to a particular time. like with the post-bop people. that period has a requirement that you bring that in order to express something from that period. you know. When Trane went
. Accept that what you are expressing is a product of your time.
to find yourself. man. Not that most of them stopped playing music. this was like an anthem. but this was like a voice in the wilderness or something. too. You start putting things in yourself. HT: Oh. "Uh oh. but to engage in it physically is contaminating yourself. . but he had left. wow. Kids are practicing and learning Coltrane solos. yes. "Did you hear that music – we got to go get that." All of a sudden.over to that last period and Ornette and Albert and them appeared. and practice don't make perfect. Because they never went anywhere. We turned on the radio and I heard "Lonely Woman. You've got to get through all that mess. What do you want to learn Coltrane’s solo on “Giant Steps” for? What are you supposed to find out? To engage and look at it and study it. if you're lucky. . but it was like this is the way. It can take years to find yourself because of this. And we didn't know what it meant. did you hear that radio?" We all said. I'll never forget." and I was like. you know. and those were the kids who were going to stay in that dream. EI: The band. Oh. But this. It's almost like something that went off and we all heard it. I'm telling you it was like a fire alarm going off. forget it. It was a brand new day. practice makes permanent. You keep making replicas and variations of the same thing. that false dream as far as I was concerned. There was a bunch of kids that didn't hear it. You know what I'm saying?
. . . You start practicing something. at the hands of the people who teach them and the people who hire them to make a living – it can destroy your development. and it's going to take time to get things out of yourself. but what way is that way? We just knew it was the new way that we could invest ourselves in completely. You might need a big enema for that. you know? Sun Ra had already been there in Chicago and stuff." We was like 15 or 16: "Did you hear that. and this is what's been going on in the arts for a long time. But the people who suffer are the young musicians. Charlie Haden. he was from another planet. there it is. This was like possibilities.
uh. but don't steal that stuff. . You’ve got to be careful in your training. Now you put some stuff in you that's too powerful for you to expel. No. You put some stuff in there that you cannot reduce down. we go through this period. anybody could sing any solo that anybody played. we evolved in time. We listened to everybody's part on every record. No. We condense it. uh. everything. third line. . and it's going to stay in you. you ain't got nothing to play. and this is not the information that all the kids now can access with their laptops. EI: So singing is better than playing? HT: Don't want to put them in your muscles. You start falsifying and plagiarizing. Google me this. iPods. When we were kids. jingle me that.You should only engage certain music on an intellectual level of looking at it and understanding it. every bass part. And we knew who everybody was. iPads. it's going to keep getting in your way for a long time. you sing everything.
. drum part. People who were second line. They'll take over. and I don't even know. no. You're going to put information in your muscles that you're gonna have to pay to get rid of. You figure out a little bit about stuff to do. we throw out what we don't need. and it's going to stay with you. Your muscles don't have anything to do with your mind. The people who you were listening to – that was some powerful stuff coming from them. EI: Did you sing any? HT: Yeah. EI: You never learned any solos? HT: Hell. no. you know what's going to come out. didn't even have names hardly. but you shouldn't put it in you. because that stuff is powerful. Remember. You don't want to imprint it that far. You start imprinting that far. a lot of stuff comes to us. There are information cells in your muscles. no.
“You can’t drink. HT: You know? EI: All you saw all the classical music. Hindemith. that's what we would do for entertainment. go sit in the back and open up my damn scores. see. Oh. that's interesting. Oh. and I went to a music class at the New School recently where the kids didn't know who I was and were up there telling me. I didn't see that. We'd go down to the Orchestra Hall as ushers. right? I forgot how much they was paying me." Oh. really. Mussorgsky. I'm just sitting there with my saxophone case.” We new every name. but you can listen. whatever. that's all I'm here for with my saxophone. All I had to do was get there. I didn't have no money.. "You do the bass. Fritz Reiner is conducting.. Rimsky-Korsakov. just sit down right there. Coltrane. I had my scores and studied conducting.” I'm here to hear Ben Webster. too! HT: Yeah.Chet Baker. We everything Brubeck did.Any kid who I was around when I grew up knew everyone in the Glenn Miller Orchestra.. Yeah. "Yeah. down to even Paul Whiteman's fucking band with their square asses. you do the lead. Paul Quinichette. and all I gotta do is sit people down. they don't have access to live music. It wasn't shit. Don Ellis. And everybody who was on the West Coast. look at the tempo. We'd get together and say. "Oh. EI: The community was different. There's nothing here that says you do it like that. really? This is the information age? But. ah."
. At all the big jazz clubs I could walk right in. We knew every fucking song and could sing every fucking part. that's the balance. They said. 15. I was 14. I'm 18.. Paul Gonsalves. Sonny Rollins. All I had to do was show up with my saxophone when I was 14. right there beside me. I was able to go and get it. I'll do piano. I think I heard something about Cecil Taylor. The Chicago Symphony's at its fucking height. take out my flashlight. you do drums. by the time I got to junior college man.
. everything we like about Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson. “Ballet?” I say. and they say. “Who’s he?” “So how many people here know anything about the Sequenzas?” “Oh what's that?” "Berio. you don't listen to music before the Grand Ole Opry?" Are you a fucking idiot. They tell me they did a workshop or something with Steve Coleman to get advice. you know anything about Berio? Anybody know anything about Berio or Herbie Nichols here? Oh. And I say. I said. Paul Desmond that sound. did you see Boulez at Carnegie Hall a couple months ago?" They say. because it puts everybody on the same diet. "What are they teaching you at these schools and what is in your own private development that you don't go see Beckett or you don't go see the dance company from Cambodia when they come here?" What is wrong with you.I talked to these kids. They got money to do some of these things. You can't have the same diet and produce all of this diversity. and Paul Gonsalves on that sound. "Well. yes. If they all had the same person teaching them how to manufacture and think about sound. That can't produce diversity. Johnny Griffin sounded the way he sounded because he developed that sound. Don't you know that ballet came from composers and not from dancers?" Stravinsky and all the people who composed ballet: They brought the whole story and everything. you know? You don't know anything about real hillbilly music? I can be a bad idea to teach jazz. Everything we like about Mozart. “Yeah. anybody here read Ulysses? Or who knows anything about dancing and theater in here? Or ballet?" I start talking about ballet. you know? "Oh. is because they all had a different diet. let's just talk about Puccini and writing for the voice. Or.
You have to be a general practitioner. but first you've got to be a general practitioner. "So how much Bach did you have to play and what other instruments did you have to study?" I was a viola player. Not looking at me because you're impressed with me and I got a name or something.been disastrous. and I say. you want to be a neurologist.” The magazines put in there the setup that you use so all the kids replicate it. No." I wouldn't even go near something like that. "Never heard of it. Now. "I got a Mark VI." As much general Western and now. I said. what kind of drums you use? Find out what fits your body and your thinking and mind. these young players coming out of Cuba. what works for you. "You know you're supposed to learn about music. Paquito didn't
. HT: They say. same kind of saxophone. you know. EI: Sure. You want to be a podiatrist. “I'm sure you haven't. they know far more about world music. but see that's anti-commercialism. You're supposed to find out what's comfortable for you. You want to play rock and roll or whatever the fuck you want to do. I sit up in front of some kids at a jazz school and start talking about music. and that's not good. but you're supposed to know the general. just like the way medicine is done." I said. The good news is what they learned about how to make sound physically – it's an advance. You learn generally. But they all got the same kind of mouthpiece. what's that?” It's a Herbert Couf. “What is that you got. You see Paquito and them. you know. then you specialize. you want to be an ear doctor. and they all got the same fucking pieces. What kind of foot pedal you use. I been playing that for years. saying. that's what I play. when they come out of Cuba. world music. they all met together when they first came out of Europe. I think they should invest in really teaching people music. They know all these players in India and Wales. I'm looking at them. and you get somebody else's equipment to match yours.
HT: Yeah. see? Here in this country. That's the greatest thing in life. man." he says in part one. Full context for this anomaly is given in part three. and to be able to survive. "I figured out a long time ago that going back for me is always a mistake. HT: That's the most important thing. how to research information and these types of things. I don't play down to people. Unfortunately. Because you know America and the arts. yeah.know about that. to be able to do something. and the classical names. EI: It seems to have gotten worse instead of better. You know that. critics and establishment grant-givers understand this better than most conventional jazz players or jazz students. Threadgill could have won more hearts in the general jazz populace if he had continuously performed his most charismatic tunes. to have something. Don't be helping people with being no jazz musician or anything else. out of Cuba. The guys that come out of there. EI: Thank you for all the music. Buried in that onslaught of thousands of recorded compositions there is surely something for
. we should have the same sort of information base in music and leave people alone in terms of being specific about it. That is. it's not a great appreciation. They knew who the jazz guys were. is playing music for people. there's an overwhelming amount of Threadgill music to explore. Keep them in a neutral zone so that they can become whoever they will be. it's not easy. they know who they are. Henry Threadgill is one of our most important living players and composers. I really play music for people. Don't help them with that. this is the last thing that Threadgill wanted to do. Help them with the knowledge of how to use science to the best of their ability to reproduce sound. Of course. but they didn't know who these world players were in Bali and the Philippines and all over the world. yeah. I play up to people. Thanks to his continuous forward motion.
Subject to Change. An enterprising student should make this collection a dissertation topic. Easily Slip Into Another World. For me. Threadgill’s playing in particular is quite irrational. still blowing strong (and wrong). He talks more about his rehearsal techniques in part one. Some of mystery is unquestionably inadvertent: during the loudest chorus. without any raggedness or smudging. In “B” each drummer is assigned one of the lines of counterpoint. or the cello.everybody.and Rag. Threadgill's genius is most obvious in the work of his Sextett. Four Sextett pieces I can't do without: "Soft Suicide at the Baths" from When Was That? is a long. Threadgill is in the lead with clarinet. the band falls helplessly out of sync. melancholy D major dirge that should be sung and played everywhere music is made. singing out the tune four times. Some of the time the trombone plays or it doesn't. It is impressive that a man can write such elegant music and then deface it so casually. the sudden lack of the trombone. It's not an easy tempo but it never drags: nice work from Reggie Nicholson and Pheeroan Aklaff. and All. But certain things move me almost to tears. In the first “A” there is only cymbals. either. trumpet. “A” is
homophonic and vaguely "classical" in F-sharp minor. “B” is a rare example of successful counterpoint in jazz. the group of seven players Threadgill led during the 1980's and documented on When Was That?. Only Henry Threadgill orchestrates this way. or cello can have the effect of a negative image.
. or the trumpet plays or it doesn't. Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket. Bush. You Know the Number. I don't love everything by Threadgill I've heard. gradually getting wilder and looser and then subsiding. But there is almost always a soloist who is blowing ragged lines against the pure texture. By accompanying above and below the tune at non-intuitive moments. "Theme from Thomas Cole” from You Know the Number. All the musicians play the parts cleanly.
The last time through “A. almost Ellingtonian. “Silver and Gold. but in this piece I hear that the toms are tuned almost like a scale and that there is a "thickness" to the beat that is quite unusual. Threadgill talks about writing everything out for the two drummers in the Sextett. At about a minute into the track. The composer
. Threadgill’s last two impassioned notes — almost an operatic appoggiatura — ties up his solo perfectly (4:07). Like "Soft Suicide. A sonorous Csharp 7 is eventually agreed on except in the bass: Fred Hopkins swoops down to pound on his low F-sharp. The weird staccato note in the melody sounds like a mistake. The third chorus reprises the tune with Murray an octave down. In part one. and "Black Hands" should be picked up by an ultra-savvy dance or wedding band. Threadgill played with Mario Bauza.” Threadgill varies his pecking “dee-dee-deedee” figure for the first time (at 5:45). but it is exactly the same on the reprise. Silver and Gold” from You Know the Number. "Black Hands Bejeweled" from Easily Slip Into Another World. Diedre Murray is unnervingly scored at the top of her instrument. and you can almost hear the words. The tension is gratefully released in a satisfying blare of pure minor. although the band makes it only halfway through before getting stuck on a dolorous vamp for Threadgill to preach over. “Silver and Gold Baby. This tiny moment of entropy presages the brief horn calamity that starts the coda. The accompaniment of Murray and Hopkins (switching between arco and pizzicato) marks the tune’s harmony but doesn’t lock up anything like a piano player would. This moment (a prolonged V dominant over i) is found in any piece of Beethoven but hardly ever appears in jazz. Hard to imagine." "Silver and Gold" is mysterious dirge with a slithering microtonal Hopkins introduction. Baby! Silver and Gold…” The second chorus features an abstract Threadgill solo. Threadgill gets a few bars of Johnny Hodges-like statement. But here the harmonic language is more complex.
A. then B-flat. The last two records on Pi. too. While he came out of the AACM. Tricky phrase lengths! The musicians can't rely on just having a good ear: they need to be staring at their charts to know which version of the cheerful off-beat line to play. D. If "Soft Suicide at the Baths" explores a certain kind of sadness to its fullest expression. I adore the tiny bass melody. and I believe he is right. and none of his groups since have achieved quite the same level of traction. --During the Sextett years.moves through mediant movement like a standard 19th-century opera composer: The tune is in G.. no post-Marsalis straight-ahead players have a relationship with Henry Threadgill. This Brings Us
. "Black Hands Bejeweled" pursues a kind of perverse but genuine joy to the farthest mark. Henry Threadgill is the musician that could have really helped the Lions integrate the past with the present in a surreal and unforced way.." that calls the tune out on to the floor. then or now. He never needed to be part of the jazz world. Perhaps part of the problem was the ascent of the Young Lions.) Another relevant aspect to Threadgill is how he doesn't seem to have a clique. then E. Some of the records came out on a major label and he was even the subject of a Dewar's Profile. he is not tied to that aesthetic any more than anything else. Threadgill is above those concerns. He just loves to make weird and fun music that shows no regard for category. I guess. Nice solos from the ensemble. Jazz's loss is general music's gain. Threadgill was almost really famous. (Maybe that is just beginning to change. But then that group disbanded. "G. But as far as I know. That's another way I wish Threadgill had been more influential: The jazz world was awfully cliquey for a time. I'm sure a few of those composers are working on decoding the system Threadgill is using for Zooid. B. As I have written before on DTM. He confidently asserts that high-level classical composers know about him and his work.
I love the tuba two octaves above the bass! Threadgill's muttering. but plenty of lesser American artists say the same type of thing with far less successful results. each a voice in charge of slowly mutating harmony. "I’ve always understood how music got created here in America. again. and he's hardly the first great composer to settle into a dauntingly abstract. a language that definitely gets a certain sound out of the music. In part one. 2. 1 and 2. Threadgill's natural blues sensibility keeps him grounded in something real. He and Eliot Humberto Kavee gather some steam. and that I was under no obligation to do any particular thing. whatever I want to do. The point about the web is counterpoint. showcase this latest atonal language. and Zooid specializes in having the five members hang out in different areas. The first minute is a medium burn tune. leading to a fierce final full band sequence that celebrates the blues." That's fine. 05/21/2011
. The conclusion of "Polymorph" is thrilling because the magician's cape swirls out of the frame just enough for us to percieve that real blues in an unadulterated form. granitic late music. I admit that I could use the occasional non-language piece to offset the encroaching web! But.To Vol. barely played improvisation is cool. and why he has been able to cross genres the way he has. Threadgill never looks back. That's one reason he is so important. Threadgill says. but the most intriguing solo may be by Stomu Takeishi. The blues is in everything that Threadgill has ever done. I do exactly the way I feel. then the solos begin. One piece really caught me: "Polymorph" from This Brings Us To Vol.