Thursday, April 16, 2015

Henry Threadgill and Dewar’s

[New York, June 20, 1988. Click for a larger view.]

I happened to think of this Dewar’s advertisement yesterday. It’s from a series that began in 1969. I was delighted when I first saw it: Henry Threadgill! In 1988, I knew his music from his Sextet and Sextett and the trio Air. Seeing Threadgill, an AACM musician, in a Dewar’s ad was beyond my imagining. I’m not sure what might be comparable: Ted Berrigan in an advertisement for Pepsi?

But then Ted Berrigan really liked Pepsi. It doesn’t surprise me to learn that Threadgill was not particularly devoted to Scotch. As he told the Los Angeles Times in 1989, “People often come up to me in bars and want to buy me a shot of Dewar’s. Frankly, I’m partial to a cup of coffee or some seltzer or some beer.”

Looking at this advertisement in 2015, I have noticed, maybe for the first time, the pencil in the scene. It’s a Mongol, with the identifying words removed. By their ferrules ye shall know them: that’s the Mongol’s distinctive ferrule on display.

Here is one of my favorite Threadgill recordings, “When Was That?,” the title track from a 1982 About Time LP. It appears that this recording never made it to CD. I’m being very careful with my LP.


Two years after posting this advertisement, I turned it into one for Mongol pencils.

A related post
Jack DeJohnette in Chicago (With Henry Threadgill)

[The musicians: Henry Threadgill, alto; Craig Harris, trombone; Olu Dara, cornet; Fred Hopkins, bass; Brian Smith, piccolo bass; Pheeroan Aklaff, drums; John Betsch, drums.]

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

When was that?

A fast ride in an old jalopy not even fitted with the new-fangled seat belts. I did it then, but when was that?

I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

The cut and more makes today's rap music sound square, mechanical and rude. I wager precious few will ask such a question in thirty years about much of today's "in" stuff.

Michael Leddy said...

I’m glad you enjoyed it, Anon. My wife and I just listened to it after breakfast and thought about how much happiness these musicians must have had doing this tune.