It's a great day for jazz: Henry Threadgill's first major release since 2001. Saxophonist, composer, bandleader Threadgill is one of the most important and underknown figures in American music. He made his mark in the 1970s with the trio Air, arranging and improvising on Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton songs; unlike many modernists, Threadgill never lost that sense of connection to jazz's earthy, vernacular roots. His dense, knotty, polyrhythmic music may tease your brain, but you'll feel it in the gut -- from his Zooid quintet, he builds a visceral propulsion like a symphony. If you're hip to Coltrane or the late Miles, you should acquaint yourself with this living master.

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