Henry Threadgill's Zooid: Tickled Pink
Henry Threadgill's Zooid
Up Popped the Two Lips (Pi 02)
Liberty Ellman (guitar), Tarik Benbrahim (oud), Jose Davila (tuba), Dana Leong (cello).
Composed by Henry Threadgill.
Recorded: West Orange, NJ, April 28-30, 2001
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Zooid is Henry Threadgill's string-heavy group, comprising acoustic guitar, oud, cello, and drums, with tuba holding down the bass and Threadgill's alto sax and flute on top. The sound of "Tickled Pink" is an interesting composite—part classical, part bluegrass, part Afrobeat, part New Orleans-style funk. Threadgill's distinctive, slightly subversive way with harmony is ever present. He's one of the most Blindfold Test-friendly modern jazz composers—very easy to pick out of a musical lineup. The members of Zooid are well-chosen. On oud, Tarik Benbrahim plays with a funky, delightfully twisted lilt; his lines intertwine cunningly with those of guitarist Liberty Ellman, who brings his own wiry, peculiarly iconoclastic improvisational voice to the mix. Drummer Dafnis Prieto is consummately funky; cellist Dana Leong is an able melodist, and tubaist Jose Davila nails the grooves in a somewhat messy but effective way. Threadgill plays flute with a big fat sound and big fat ideas. A big part of Threadgill's appeal as a composer has always been his unusual choices of instrumentation. Seldom have those choices been less orthodox than this, to superb ends.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey