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Spirit of Nuff...nuff

Henry Threadgill

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Album Review

After trailblazing stints with the avant-garde jazz trio Air in the '70s and his seven-piece sextet in the '80s, Henry Threadgill changes direction once again with a two tuba, two guitar, trombone, and drums outfit he calls Very Very Circus. Threadgill's layered, idiosyncratic compositions still abound, but as one would expect from a front line like this, the sound is darker and more dense than on prior releases. The new approach is especially evident in the thick mix of reverb-riddled guitar notes, rumbling tuba phrases, and march rhythms heard on numbers like "Drivin' You Slow and Crazy," "Bee Dee Aff," and "Unrealistic Love." Threadgill does lighten the tone, though, by including the Calypso-inspired number "Hope a Hope A" and intricately buoyant themes like "Exacto" and "In the Ring." Standout contributions include Masujaa's mercurial guitar solo on "Unrealistic Love," Threadgill's haunting flute work on "First Church of This," and drummer Gene Lake's supple and tight rhythmic support throughout. Another excellent title from one of jazz's most progressive and original artists.

Biography

Born: 15 February 1944 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The jazz avant-garde has produced dozens of notable improvisers (not surprisingly, since improvisation is arguably the music's defining element) but relatively few great composers. Henry Threadgill is a member of that exclusive club. With his fellow Chicagoans Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams, he's one of the most original jazz composers of his generation. Threadgill's art transcends stylistic boundaries. He embraces the world of music in its entirety, from ragtime to circus marches to classical...
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Spirit of Nuff...nuff, Henry Threadgill
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