It is absolutely a measure of his importance and achievement as a musician that a major publisher has brought out this book, Henry Threadgill’s autobiography (written with Brent Hayes Edwards in a fluid and engrossing style close to that of an oral history). Jazz in general is not a subject the big publishers are interested in, much less for someone like Threadgill who has been a leader in the avant-garde for decades.
Castrator is an all-woman death metal band founded in 2013 by bassist Robin Mazen and drummer Carolina Perez. The bands most recent album is the long-awaited full-length slab Defiled in Oblivion (Dark Descent Records), coming seven years after its No Victim debut EP. With a new lineup featuring guitarist Kimberly Orellana and vocalist Clarissa Badini, Defiled in Oblivion uses classic death metal brutality to explore injustices against women, historical atrocities, and other dark veins and includes a cover of Venoms "Countess Bathory." The Brooklyn Rail caught up with Mazen and Perez after they disembarked from the 70000 Tons of Metal floating festival.
There are few festivals where all musics are equal. Big Ears (Knoxville) and Le Guess Who (Utrecht) might make good examples. In Brussels, BRDCST (Broadcast, or Breadcrust?) operates on an intimate level, still incorporating significant artists, but not overcrowding the adventurous Ancienne Belgique venue, which is itself a home for all styles, filling its calendar with rock, electronic, hip-hop, jazz, folk, and global sounds. BRDCST proclaims itself as the ideal antidote for paranoia and hysteria.
The recent passing of the singer, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte got me thinking of the strange roads folk music has traveled in this country. When Bob Dylan came onto the scene in 1961, people thought of him as the first folk superstar. But as Dylan takes pains to point out in his unconventional and brilliant memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, the whole idea of folk music is that it derives from traditions going back centuries.