Henry Threadgill wants to know how to build the house. Whether it's Moby Dick or jazz composition, the 72-year-old jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist has spent his life figuring out what goes into building the greatest works of arts. At three years of age, he started teaching himself to play piano by mimicking the boogie-woogie on the radio. From there, he set to figuring out how to compose his own music.
Recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Threadgill talks with Helga about giving license to your imagination in order to create, the life energy that connects a performer to his creations, and pushing yourself to go beyond excellence to greatness.
“People have different names for the life force in them. But it’s energy. The only thing that science seems to be able to tell us about energy is you can’t destroy it. You can change it but you cannot destroy it. So wherever you house it, it’s only being housed until it has to change.” –Henry Threadgill
This conversation contains explicit language that some listeners may find offensive.