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JazzTimes 10: Great Saxophone Trio Albums

Listen to what can happen when the piano player takes a permanent stroll

A Night at the Village Vanguard by Sonny Rollins
A Night at the Village Vanguard by Sonny Rollins

Air: Air Song (Why Not, 1975)

The debut of the legendary AACM collective Air, Henry Threadgill’s breakthrough group, is one of the most comprehensive and stunningly creative documents of the sax-trio format. It offers features for tenor, baritone, and alto sax (with a fourth for flute); lyrical melodies (including “Untitled Tango,” Threadgill’s first important composition); unique forms; feverish swing; fiery free blowing and thoughtful collective improvisation. Threadgill is no more essential to the band’s identity than bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Steve McCall, a forceful and synergetic rhythm section who often overtake even the reedist’s intensity.

Preview, buy or download Air Song on Amazon!

Originally Published

Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.