Monday, June 29, 2009

"A" is for "AIR"

This represents a new series that will emerge periodically. I will wend my way through the alphabet presenting a selection of performances by one specific artist or ensemble that begins with the featured letter. We begin with the letter "A".
The trio Air, was formed in 1972 in Chicago by three Chicagoans, Henry Threadgill, Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall. The concept of the ensemble was centered around the idea that no one instrument should lead the narrative of the piece with the other two supporting with rhythm but all three contributing to the entire direction of the improvisation.

Air was among the first groups to come out of the AACM (along with the Art Ensemble of Chicago) and bring the organization to ears outside of Chicago.
In this selection we'll hear pieces from seven recordings that span 1975 to 1982. The playlist goes like this:
1. Do Tell (9:50) - 80 Degrees Below '82 (1982)
2. B. K. (8:57) - Air Mail (1980)
3. Through a Keyhole Darkly (7:21) - Air Raid (1976)
4. Portrait of Leo Smith (7:58) - Live Air (1976)
5. Untitled Tango (12:10) - Air Song (1975)
6. Card Four: Straight White Royal Flush (6:01) - Open Air Suite (1978)
7. Suisse Air (14:56) - Live at Montreux (1978)
Air Song was their first recording and 80 Degrees Below '82 was their last as this trio. The next recording Air would release would have Pheeroan akLaff replacing Steve McCall on drums...


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