Monday, May 10, 2010

Henry Threadgill, X-75 Volume 1 (Arista Novus, AN 3013 1979)

I've always tried to limit myself to posting recordings that aren't easily available anywhere else. This isn't the first post of Henry Threadgill's X-75, but it's my own rip of the vinyl, so it might be of interest as another example of this wonderful and long out of print recording.

Brian Olewnick at writes:
"After ten years as a member of the innovative trio Air, Henry Threadgill's first album as a leader immediately plunged into experimental waters. He utilized a nonet the likes of which had certainly never been heard before and probably not since: four reed players, four bassists, and a vocalist. The bass quartet was made up of participants in Brian Smith's Bass Violin Choir, and here they provide not only most of the rhythmic impetus but also carry a good deal of the melodic weight, as Threadgill's massive talent for mid-size band arrangements is immediately apparent. Their opening few minutes on "Celebration" presents a marvelous array of bowed, hymn-like tones as well as deeply grooving pizzicato lines. The songs are less solo vehicles than complete compositions, already prefiguring several of the directions the leader would take with his subsequent ensembles. Only "Air Song," an ethereal piece scored for four flutes and voice, meanders a bit and fails to really catch hold, though even then it presents some wonderful textures and colors. The closer, "Fe Fi Fo Fum," is the most traditionally jazzy of the pieces, allowing for something close to a theme-solos-theme format, Threadgill's alto given a moment to shine in all its acerbic glory. As of 2002, X-75, Vol. 1 was unreleased on disc and, even more disappointingly, there was never a "Vol. 2." But Threadgill fans looking for a link between Air and his Sextett owe it to themselves to search this one out."

Bass - Fred Hopkins , Leonard Jones , Rufus Reid
Bass, Bass [Piccolo] - Brian Smith (9)
Clarinet [Bass], Flute - Douglas Ewart
Piccolo Flute, Flute [Alto], Saxophone [Tenor] - Wallace McMillan
Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Saxophone [Alto], Flute, Flute [Bass] - Henry Threadgill
Saxophone [Soprano], Flute - Joseph Jarman
Vocals - Amina Claudine Myers



  2. not to dispute someone with such fine taste, but I've never seen this one on the web ... as such I'm excited to see it here (and alot of other nice things) ... thanks!

  3. Big thanks for posting these difficult to find Threadgill albums. Yours seems to be truly interesting blog. Keep on posting!