From piano rags fractured by the reed ‘n rhythm trio Air to the swag-centic 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 porto-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.
Harlem Stage, 150 Covenant Ave, New York. Sept 27 + 28,
(212) 281-9240 ext. 19 or 20