Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music (HC) (2023)

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An autobiography of one of the towering figures of contemporary American music and a powerful meditation on history, race, capitalism, and art.

Henry Threadgill has had a singular life in music. At 78, the jazz saxophonist, flautist, and celebrated composer is one of only five Black composers to have won a Pulitzer Prize. The others are George Walker, Wynton Marsalis, Ornette Coleman, and Kendrick Lamar. In Easily Slip into Another World, Threadgill recalls his childhood and upbringing in Chicago, his family life and education, and his brilliant career in music.

Here are riveting recollections of the music scene in Chicago in the mid-1960s, during the early days of the highly influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM); the year and a half he spent touring with evangelical gospel singers and preachers in the mid-1960s; his military service in Vietnam--a fascinating tale in itself, but also representative of an under-recognized aspect of jazz history, given the number of musicians in Threadgill's generation who served in the armed forces; his extended travels to Venezuela, Trinidad, the Netherlands, and Goa; the downtown scene in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s; his impressions of the recording industry, as a composer who has worked with a wide range of record companies from small independents (Black Saint, Pi Records) to large corporations (Arista, Columbia); his work as a sideman with an enormous range of musicians, from AACM stalwarts (Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, and Douglas Ewart), to Chicago bluesmen ("Left Hand" Frank Craig), to downtown luminaries (David Murray, Billy Bang, and Kip Hanrahan), to world music innovators (Sly & Robbie, Carlinhos Brown, Vitas Brenner, Rolando Briceño, and Mario Bauza); his perspectives on music education and the history of Black music in the United States; and, of course, his work with the various ensembles he has directed over the past five decades.


Henry Threadgill
Brent Hayes Edwards
ISBN 10:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date:
May 16, 2023

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