Avant-garde jazzmen who record for major labels are the exception instead of the rule. At Columbia, the main exception is Henry Threadgilla risk-taker who incorporated elements of circus music on his last album, Carry The Day
. The alto saxman and Chicago native continues to be influenced by circus music on Where's Your Cup
, which has its share of dissonant, chaotic "outside" improvisation but is actually a lot more musical than some might think. This time, one of Threadgill's greatest assets is Tony Cedras, whose accordion proves highly appropriate for such eerie selections as "Laughing Club," "The Flew" and other eerie selections. If this a circus, it's a circus of the bizarre. Depending on where your imagination takes you, this CD makes one envision a circus populated by eccentric clowns, a dominatrix on a trapeze and a sinister Parisian bondage midget who wears mostly black leather and calls himself Dungeonmaster Jean-Luc Depois, Le Midget De Sade.
Although not as extreme as an Anthony Braxton date, Where's Your Cup is a long way from hard bop. With jazz becoming more and more of a stagnant, predictable "museum music," artists as adventurous as Threadgill are desperately needed.
Reprinted with the permission of Myrna Daniels and L.A. Jazz Scene , the largest jazz publication in Southern California.