Feb 8, 2022, 8pm

Henry Threadgill

Full price: 21 / Discounted: 19 / Members: 17

In homage to the work of David Hammons, Blank Forms and Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection present a two-evening program in resonance with Hammons, featuring performances by jazz composer and saxophonist Henry Threadgill with his ensemble Zooid and by composer and performer Amina Claudine Myers.

Henry Threadgill (b. 1944) is a saxophonist and flautist celebrated for his personal approach to integrating modular composition within sophisticated group improvisation. An early member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Threadgill spent his youth playing in blues, polka, gospel, Latin, and rock bands in his hometown of Chicago, in addition to studies of classical music and participation in the AACM. In 1971, he formed Reflection (later renamed Air) with bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Steve McCall. His penchant for idiosyncratic instrumental configurations has been a signature of his career as a bandleader, which has included the Henry Threadgill Sextett (actually a septet counting the two drummers as a single percussion unit), X-75 (a nonet consisting of four reed players, four bassists, and vocalist Amina Claudine Myers), Very Very Circus, Make A Move, and, since 2001, his acoustic chamber ensemble Zooid. 

Zooid is a vehicle for Threadgill’s latest compositional method, a strategy which corresponds to a zooid’s biological designation as a type of cell which operates independently from the organism to which it belongs. For Zooid, the 76-year-old composer’s longest-running group to date, Threadgill assigns his instrumentalists specific intervallic parameters within which they are free to improvise, setting the stage for a polyphonic sound world of contrapuntal harmonies and free, pulsating rhythm that maintains cohesion while encouraging expression outside of habitual patterns. Threadgill, who has also recorded as a sideman with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Chico Freeman, Roscoe Mitchell, Sly & Robbie, Leroy Jenkins, Kip Hanrahan, Wadada Leo Smith, and Jack DeJohnette, was the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and Zooid’s 2015 record In for a Penny, In for a Pound made him just the third artist associated with jazz (alongside Wynton Marsalis and Ornette Coleman) to receive a Pulitzer Prize in Music. Zooid is currently a quintet with Jose Davila (trombone and tuba), Liberty Ellman (acoustic guitar), Christopher Hoffman (cello), and Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums) accompanying Henry Threadgill on alto saxophone and flute.