Henry Threadgill’s In for a Penny, In for a Pound Wins the Music Pulitzer

I’m coming to this almost comically late; the prizes were announced on April 18th. Threadgill is only the fourth African-American artist to win the Pulitzer (eighth, as Will Robin points out, if you count the Special Prizes and similar awards given posthumously to Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk).

Interestingly, and very much exemplary of my last post, the album is on Bandcamp, where you can listen to two of the tracks for free and then, if you like them, buy the album. (I do, and I will.)

The awarding board writes:

In for a Penny, In for a Pound is the latest installment in saxophonist/flutist/composer Henry Threadgill’s ongoing exploration of his singular system for integrating composition with group improvisation. The music for his band Zooid—Threadgill’s main music-making vehicle for the past fourteen years and the longest running band of his illustrious forty plus-year career—is no less than his attempt to completely deconstruct standard jazz form, steering the improvisatory language towards an entirely new system based on preconceived series of intervals. His compositions create a polyphonic platform that encourages each musician to improvise with an ear for counterpoint and, in the process, creating striking new harmonies.

Julia Wolfe wins the 2015 Pulitzer for music

The Pulitzer website:

Drawing inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, Julia Wolfe’s music brings a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them.

Her music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. In the words of the Wall Street Journal, Wolfe has “long inhabited a terrain of [her] own, a place where classical forms are recharged by the repetitive patterns of minimalism and the driving energy of rock.”

Works for me.

Sample below. It’s enough that I find myself hoping a full recording is released soon.


Update: Alex Ross has it that a recording is coming out, and that it’s going to be the second Pulitzer-winning release in a row from Cantaloupe records.