Henry Threadgill

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COMPOSERS: Henry Threadgill
LABELS: Columbia
WORKS: Makin’ a Move
PERFORMER: Threadgill (as) with Very Very circus: Mark Taylor (fr-h); Brandon Ross, Ed Cherry (g); Edwin Rodriguez, Marcus Rojas (tuba); Pheeroan Ak Laff (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 481131 2 (distr. Sony Jazz)
Henry Threadgill’s music consciously defies neat categorisation, its extraordinary instrumentation frequently rendering it more aptly described by the term ‘sound sculpture’. Previous Threadgill bands have featured four bassists, or cello and two drummers; Very Very Circus, as here, generally includes two tubas and two guitars, and the group sound, although bottom-heavy on first acquaintance, is delightfully graceful throughout. The scrabbling guitars and the leader’s querulous alto are set against the surprisingly light-footed whump of the tubas and the sonorous dexterity of the French horn, and the whole is held together beautifully by the delicate virtuosity of Ak Laff. On the three Circus-less tracks, various combinations of cellos, piano, alto and guitars weave a constantly changing tapestry of sound, startling at first, but richly rewarding sustained attention. A mature masterpiece from a genuine original. Chris Parker