Henry Threadgill Zooid This Brings Us To Volume 1

This is Henry Threadgill's first album in close to ten years, and his Zooid band have come back as a well-oiled machine. This is a much funkier unit than Threadgill has led in quite some time, and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee is largely responsible. This is slippery, sinewy stuff that draws from some of jazz's oldest traditions and its furthest trajectories at the same time. Jose Davila's trombone is actually the most powerful lead voice here; Threadgill's touch, frequently on flute rather than saxophone, is light. However, his playing continues to grow stronger over the decades. He's largely lost the avant garde anxiety that marked his playing in the '80s, so that his more ambitious harmonic leaps feel better chosen. When the music slows down, as in "White Wednesday Off The Wall," his tone poems are still as beautiful as ever. This is no reinvention of his style, but the band interplay is very, very high. This is a welcome return. (Pi)