Henry Threadgill’s Air
Repertory Ensemble featuring Marty Ehrlich, Pheeroan AkLaff & Hilliard Greene
“Air deserved a lot more exposure as a leading free-jazz ensemble of its day.” – The Guardian
Air – the jazz trio comprised of saxophonist, flutist, of course, hubkaphone inventor and player Henry Threadgill, bassist Fred Hopkins, and drummer Steve McCall – emerged from the fertile collective of Chicago’s AACM in the 1970s to become one of the most thrilling ensembles of the decade. Based around the compositions and arrangements of Threadgill, Air was a musical high-wire act, three master musicians engaged in continual creative interplay of dazzling instrumental virtuosity. Air ultimately disbanded in mid-1980s.
But the spirit of Air lives on.
When we began making plans to celebrate the legacy of Henry Threadgill, the idea of an Air “repertory” band had already emerged. Henry himself recommended his multi-instrumentalist colleague Marty Ehrlich to step into his role in the trio, along with the great drummer Pheeroan AkLaff had filled the late Steve McCall’s shows in the last edition of Air in the mid-1980s. Both Ehrlich and AkLaff had performed extensively with the late Fred Hopkins and called upon bassist Hilliard Greene to provide the big sound and creativity that characterized Hopkins’ work.