From piano rags fractured by the reed ’n’ rhythm trio Air to the swag-centric groove of the mammoth Society Situation Band, Henry Threadgill’s catholic interests have always led his ensembles to a spot where a mother lode was waiting to be mined. Now 70, the revered composer-bandleader has consistently recast his music during the last four decades, with each discrete outfit still forwarding that signature sound — let’s call it a mix of buoyant jubilation and eerie drama. Those who missed aggregates such as his seven-piece Sextett or the groups mentioned above can step into a time portal at the Harlem Stage’s Very Very Threadgill Festival, which finds its hero bringing each of them (and more) back to life for a weekend romp. To a one, they’ve helped define various epochs of New York jazz, especially the esteemed proto-orchestra that cut the 1993 masterpiece Too Much Sugar for a Dime. Gray-haired sentimentalists will freak to see these configurations again, and newbies will be in awe of the explosive variety one man’s mind can conjure.
Sun., Sept. 28, 7 p.m., 2014
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 24, 2014