Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Henry Threadgill's Zooid in a 2001 Release: Up Popped the Two Lips

Henry Threadgill is back (though he didn't exactly go anywhere). Mosaic just released a box set of his earlier work, his Zooid group is making records again and he just played a well-received series of engagements at Roulette in New York City.

To commemorate all this and to show my appreciation for his music I turn to what I do have to review, Up Popped the Two Lips (PI 02), which came out in 2001. A friend gave me the CD as a gift last year and I have been digging it. The Zooid group as represented on this recording is a sextet with the unusual but well-utilized instrumentation of Henry on alto and flute plus acoustic guitar, oud, tuba, cello and drums.

The music of the mature Mr. Threadgill is a wonderful combination of contrapuntal lines, both composed and improvised. There are often three, four, five and six-way dialogs among the instrumentalists, with for example a principal soloist (like Threadgill on alto) supported by multi-dimensional lines. There is no mistaking the results as coming from someone else. Threadgill is a master and fully original.

Get this one, get the box set, get the new ones and go see him play. He's that important. You should not miss the chance.

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