In for a Penny, In for a Pound is the latest installment in saxophonist/ flutist/composer Henry Threadgills ongoing exploration of his singular system for integrating composition with group improvisation. The music for his band Zooid his main music-making vehicle for the past fourteen years and the longest running band of his illustrious forty plus-year career is no less than his attempt to completely deconstruct standard jazz form, steering the improvisatory language towards an entirely new system based on preconceived series of intervals. His compositions create a polyphonic platform that encourages each musician to improvise with an ear for counterpoint and, in the process, creating striking new harmonies.
Paramount among independent modern jazz record labels, Black Saint was founded in Italy back in 1975 and grew to encompass more than 190 albums, while its comparatively mainstream sister enterprise, Soul Note, emerged in 1979 and eventually racked up a phenomenal index of more than 350 releases. After purchasing both gold mines, CAM Jazz began reissuing the cream of these catalogs in affordable box sets, setting the stage for a full-scale reassessment of modern creative music. The Henry Threadgill edition contains no less than seven remastered albums, packaged like little LPs in perfectly reproduced jackets, each with the original print scaled down in miniature but still legible with the aid of a magnifying lens.
The only real downside of this record is its length. But everyone is ON, right on, and the energy is remarkable. For Kaiser fans this will be a revelation. He's channeling Cosey, McLaughlin, and Sharrock (each of whom shaped Miles's sound from this period), but also doing his own Kaiser-effects. And they don't sound out of place! Smith sounds much closer to Miles than I would have expected. This isn't a bad thing of course. The other players here are fantastic, too, especially the bass clarinetist Oluyemi Thomas. John Medeski, the ROVA quartet, Greg Goodman, and Nels Cline are also here. It's a fine group of musicians lovingly indulging in the many sounds of Miles's 1970–1975 performances.
With Made In Chicago, an exhilarating live album, Jack DeJohnette celebrates a reunion with old friends. In 1962, DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill were all classmates at Wilson Junior College on Chicago’s Southside, pooling energies and enthusiasms in jam sessions. Shortly thereafter Jack joined Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band, and Roscoe and Henry soon followed him. When Abrams cofounded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1965, DeJohnette, Mitchell and Threadgill were all deeply involved, presenting concerts and contributing to each other’s work under the AACM umbrella.