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Millennials Are Killing Capitalism

Feb 12, 2024

In this episode we speak to Pulitzer Prize winning composer and musician Henry Threadgill and the co-author of his autobiography Brent Hayes Edwards. The book we discuss, which was published last year is entitled Easily Slip into Another World: A Life in Music.

Henry Threadgill was born in Chicago in 1944. He is one of the most significant and innovative composers of the 20th and 21st Century. In addition to being an award winning composer is an amazing saxophonist and flautist. He also is known for his percussion work, in particular the invention of the hubkaphone, a marimba like instrument made out of hub caps. He has been a leader or co-leader of the bands Air, Ensemble Double UP, Make a Move, The Henry Threadgill Ensemble, The Henry Threadgill Sextett, The Situation Society Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, Zooid and 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg and probably some others I didn’t track down.  If we went into all the bands and groups Henry was a part of the list would be three times as long. In recent years Threadgill has established a completely new chromatic system for musical composition outside the confines of diatonic harmony. In 2016, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for In For a Penny, In for a Pound, an album he composed for his sextet, Zooid. He currently lives in New York.

Brent Hayes Edwards is a Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University and the Director of the Scholars-in-Residence Program at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.

So why this episode, it’s a bit outside of most of our content here. Perhaps the closest things we’ve done to a conversation like this would be the dialogue we hosted between Fred Moten & Hanif Abdurraqib or the interview we did with Dionne Brand last year. But although I didn’t ask it directly, the guiding question that animated this interview and engagement with Henry and Brent’s book for me was: what insights might a truly revolutionary composer have for aspiring revolutionary organizers or for cultural workers seeking to maximize the revolutionary possibilities of their work? 

We hope you enjoy this conversation and that it proves as meaningful to you as it was to us. It was a tremendous honor to sit down with Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards to discuss their beautiful book which is available now everywhere.

Thank you to Aidan Elias for co-producing this episode.

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