Consumer Guide Album
Henry Threadgill Sextett: You Know the Number [Novus, 1987]
I enjoy imaginary soundtracks as much as (hell, more than) the next guy, and often adjudge entertaining fake jazz aesthetically superior to proficient real jazz. So let this album stand as a reminder--the most striking of several current examples I could name, with others no doubt languishing unheard on my shelves--that when jazz isn't just proficient it can cut. Threadgill blows more horn than John Lurie, Roy Nathanson, and Peter Gordon combined. In the past his third-stream expeditions have sometimes dragged, but "Theme from Thomas Cole" can be in my movie anytime. His avant gets over on force of personality. And he can play the blues.