Air (free jazz trio)

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OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresJazz, free jazz
Years active1971–1986
Past members

Air was a free jazz trio founded by saxophone player Henry Threadgill, double bassist Fred Hopkins, and drummer Steve McCall in 1971.[1][2]


Threadgill was asked by Columbia College in Chicago to arrange a number of Scott Joplin songs.[2] Joplin was so strongly associated with piano, that the musicians enjoyed the challenge of performing his trademark songs without piano. They opted to play them as rags and as a basis for jazz improvization.

The album Air Lore contains improvizations over songs by Scott Joplin as well as selections by Jelly Roll Morton.[3]

Air broke up and reformed several times, and after McCall's death, Andrew Cyrille performed as part of the trio. They released two albums with drummer Pheeroan Aklaff as New Air on Black Saint Records.[4]


Album Label Year of release
Air Song India Navigation 1975
Air Raid India Navigation 1976
Open Air Suit Arista Novus 1978
Montreux Suisse Arista Novus 1978
Air Time Nessa 1978
Air Lore Arista Novus 1979
Live Air Black Saint 1980
Air Mail Black Saint 1981
80° Below '82 Antilles 1982
Live at Montreal International Jazz Festival Black Saint 1984
Air Show No. 1 Black Saint 1986



  1. ^ Mandel, Howard (2002). "Air". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. pp. 20–21. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (1998). Erlewine, Michael; Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Yanow, Scott (eds.). All Music Guide to Jazz (3 ed.). San Francisco: Miller Freeman. p. 12. ISBN 0-87930-530-4.
  3. ^ Gold, Gerald (February 7, 1988). "Records Notes: A Recording Studio As Artists See It". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.