Henry Threadgill's Zooid with Liberty Ellman, Jose Davila, Stomu Takeishi and Elliot Kavee in all new Threadgill compositions, important and influential modern jazz!
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Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PI 31
Squidco Product Code: 11972
Recorded November, 2008 at Brooklyn Recordings, Brooklyn, NY by Andy Taub. Mixed April 2009 at 4D, Brooklyn, NY by Liberty Ellman.
Henry Threadgill-flute, alto saxophone
Jose Davila-trombone, tuba
Stomu Takeishi-bass guitar
Elliot H. Kavee-drums
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1. White Wednesday Off The Wall 4:58
2. To Undertake My Corners Open 8:41
3. Chairmaster 7:45
4. After Some Time 5:37
5. Sap 8:43
6. Mirror Mirror The Verb 3:20
Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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sample the album:
"Pi Recordings is excited to announce the release of an important new recording, This Brings Us To, from Henry Threadgill with his band Zooid. Threadgill is one of the most highly respected composers / conceptualists in music today: He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a United States Artist Fellowship in 2008. An early member of the influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Threadgill continues to hold fast to that august organization's tenets: keeping an open mind to all creative possibilities and continuing to seek new challenges. He has intensively studied the music of everyone from Igor Stravinsky, Edgard Varèse, Luciano Berio to Mario Bauzá, along with the music of Bali, India, the West Indies and Japan and filters all of these and other influences through jazz, R&B and the blues to come up with compositions that are distinctly his own.
This Brings Us To is the first release from Threadgill since 2001's Everybodys Mouth's a Book (Pi01) and Up Popped the Two Lips (Pi02). He has spent those eight years, the longest time between releases in his career, creating and perfecting a new system of improvisation in a group setting. A zooid is a cell that is able to move independently of the larger organism to which it belongs, an apt description of the musical language that Threadgill has developed for this band. The compositions are organized along a series of interval blocks comprised of three notes, each of which is assigned to a musician. Each player is free to move around within these intervals, improvising melodies and creating counterpoint to one another. The system provides the framework for open dialogue within the group while encouraging the musicians to seek new ways to improvise, away from a reliance on chord changes, scales or any of the clichés of certain "free" jazz. The music is coupled with complex rhythms, another distinctive aspect of all of Threadgill's music. He was among the first in jazz to use constantly shifting meters, which creates a layered rhythmic effect, while maintaining a steady pulse. Despite its rhythmic intricacy, his music maintains a grooving, funky vibe, even though there is rarely a "1" to be found anywhere. This quality, later co-opted by Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Cassandra Wilson and the M-Base Collective, has had a profound effect on much of the music and the drumming styles that one hears in jazz today.
Threadgill has always understood the importance of bringing together musicians who are willing to dedicate themselves to his vision. Each member of Zooid - Threadgill on flute and alto saxophone, Liberty Ellman on acoustic guitar, Jose Davila on trombone and tuba, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Elliot Humberto Kavee on drums - has worked to gain a thorough mastery of Threadgill's singular musical language. The core of the band has now been together for almost ten years. The one recent addition, Takeishi, wasa member of Threadgill's earlier band Make a Move, so he is no stranger to his music. Threadgill and Ellman are the main solo voices on the CD. Threadgill plays with two very distinct styles, depending on the instrument. He playing tends towards the pretty on flute, and a biting, almost R&B attack on alto sax. Ellman shows off his development as a soloist here, spinning imaginative, long, fluid lines. Even though he is playing acoustic guitar, he is somehow able to cut through the fray of a very large group sound. Davila takes a number of inventive, blustery solos on trombone, and also trades rhythm section functions on tuba with Takeishi - when one is holding it down, the other offers color commentary and counterpoint. Kavee on drums provides constant subtle shifts in rhythm while always keeping that sense of groove.
Most of these musicians have appeared on other Pi releases: Ellman on his own Tactiles (Pi08) and Ophiuchus Butterfly (Pi19), which also features Davila; Kavee on two Fieldwork CDs, Your Life Flashes (Pi05) and Simulated Progress (Pi16) as well as with Rudresh Mahanthappa on Mother Tongue (Pi14); Davila also appears on Steve Lehman's Travail, Transformation and Flow (Pi30).
In the music for Zooid, Threadgill creates structures in his compositions that provide platforms for the musicians to interact in a way that is constantly challenging, one that allows for personal exploration. He programs dynamic moments where each musicians can take the initiative to pull the music in a whole new direction, creating moments of tension and release, push and pull, consonance and dissonance. Threadgill is very proud to have been a consistent band leader throughout his career: from Air to the Sextett, Very Very Circus, Make a Move, and now Zooid. The first Zooid album, Up Popped the Two Lips, recorded in 2001 not long after the formation of the band, was something of a transitional release. It has taken eight years of constant refinement for this music to truly come together, for Threadgill to finally perfect that zooid."-Pi Recordings
• Show Bio for Henry Threadgill
"Henry Threadgill (born February 15, 1944) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, saxophonist and flautist, who came to prominence in the 1970s leading ensembles with unusual instrumentation and often incorporating a range of non-jazz genres.
Threadgill studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, majoring in piano, flute, and composition. He studied piano with Gail Quillman and composition with Stella Roberts. He has been a bandleader and composer for over forty years. He was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition In for a Penny, In for a Pound, which premiered at Roulette Intermedium on December 4, 2014
Threadgill has performed and recorded with several ensembles: Air, Aggregation Orb, Make a Move, the seven-piece Henry Threadgill Sextett, the twenty-piece Society Situation Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, and Zooid."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Threadgill)
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• Show Bio for Liberty Ellman
"Based in Brooklyn New York, guitarist / composer Liberty Ellman has performed and or recorded with a host of stand out creative artists including: Joe Lovano, Myra Melford, Wadada Leo Smith, Butch Morris, Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman, Greg Osby, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Nels Cline, Somi, Matana Roberts, Ledisi, Michele Rosewoman, Adam Rudolph, Josh Roseman, Barney McAll, Okkyung Lee, Steven Bernstein, Ben Goldberg and John Zorn. In 2014 Ellman worked with Jason Moran on Luanda Kinshasa, a video installation by visionary filmmaker Stan Douglas.
Mr. Ellman is perhaps best known for his long tenure in Henry Threadgill's groundbreaking ensemble, Zooid. The group has recorded several critically lauded albums. Their most recent recording "In For A Penny, In For A Pound" earned a Pulitzer prize for Mr. Threadgill. In addition to playing guitar, Mr. Ellman is credited as producer and mixing engineer on that recording. He has mixed and mastered many other recordings as well, including Gregory Porter's "Be Good," which was nominated for a Grammy.
Ellman has released 4 of his own critically acclaimed albums: Orthodoxy, Tactiles, Ophiuchus Butterfly, and 2015's Radiate on Pi Recordings. His compositional style has been described as "At once highly controlled and recklessly inventive," and the Wall Street Journal said: "Ellman, along with his peers, is helping to define post millennial jazz." Voted #1 Rising Star Guitarist in the 2016 Downbeat Critics Poll, he was also honored in the 2015 Jazz Times expanded critics poll, as one of the four guitarists of the year alongside Bill Frisell, John Scofield and Julian Lage.
Liberty Ellman has also worked beyond the jazz world: hip hop artists Midnight Voices, and The Coup, dance producer DJ Joe Claussell, and worked on remixes of N'Dea Davenport, Chico Freeman, Ann Dyer, Ayo and others. He also made an appearance on the Grammy nominated Groove Collective record, People People Music Music."-Liberty Ellman Website (http://www.libertyellman.com/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Jose Davila
"Tuba player and trombonist Jose Davila is a versatile New York-based musician whose work spans across a broad spectrum of musical genres; everything from traditional to cutting-edge jazz, to salsa and classical music. He is currently a member of Henry Threadgill's Zooid and bands led by guitarist Liberty Ellman and alto saxophonist Steve Lehman. His work with both Threadgill and Ellman extends the tuba from its traditional role as part of the rhythm section to a front-line solo voice. His playing can also be heard on the Grammy-nominated salsa recording "Un Gran Dia en el Barrio from the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and "Remembranzas and "Siguendo la Tradicion from Soneros del Barrio.
Davila has also worked in the bands of Ray Charles, Andrew Hill, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Anderson, Butch Morris, Ted Nash, along with the Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and the American Symphony and New York City Opera Orchestras.
A native of Puerto Rico who was raised on the East Coast, Jose received his formal musical training from the University of Connecticut and Mannes College of Music."-Pi Recordings (https://pirecordings.com/artist/Jose_Davila)
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