Henry Threadgill & Brent Hayes Edwards
An autobiography of one of the towering figures of contemporary American music and a powerful meditation on history, race, capitalism, and art.
Henry Threadgill has had a singular life in music. At 79, the saxophonist, flautist, and celebrated composer is one of three jazz artists (along with Ornette Coleman and Wynton Marsalis) to have won a Pulitzer Prize. In Easily Slip into Another World, Threadgill recalls his childhood and upbringing in Chicago, his family life and education, and his brilliant career in music.
Here are riveting recollections of the music scene in Chicago in the early 1960s, when Threadgill developed his craft among friends and schoolmates who would go on to form the core of the highly influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM); the year and a half he spent touring with an evangelical preacher in the mid-1960s; his military service in Vietnam—a riveting tale in itself, but also representative of an under-recognized aspect of jazz history, given the number of musicians in Threadgill’s generation who served in the armed forces.
We appreciate his genius as he travels to the Netherlands, Venezuela, Trinidad, Sicily, and Goa enriching his art; immerses himself in the volatile downtown scene in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s; collaborates with choreographers, writers, and theater directors as well as an astonishing range of musicians, from AACM stalwarts (Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, and Leroy Jenkins), to Chicago bluesmen, downtown luminaries, and world music innovators; shares his impressions of the recording industry his perspectives on music education and the history of Black music in the United States; and, of course, accounts for his work with the various ensembles he has directed over the past five decades.