When you get up in the morning, you must have a song - Ray Charles

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Henry Threadgill - I Know The Number

I have to admit that even though I was familiar with the name Henry Threadgill, I had no idea what sort of music he played. I even, for some reason, incorrectly assumed he played the guitar. Not being a huge fan of jazz guitar, this may have been part of the reason for my ignorance of such a great musician.
Having said that I approached reviewing this record with some trepidation. I quickly realized my fears were completely unfounded.
The lp starts off with Bermuda Blues, a loping bass/percussion rhythm that quickly turns funky with the addition of a dual horn onslaught that has the group trading choruses in a matter of seconds. From there the track just turns funkier. The horn solos are full of fire, while the bottom line never veers from its stunning rolling accompaniment. This is the way to reel someone in on a new recording. The rest of the lp ranges from the sublime and beautiful (Silver and Gold, Paille Street), to decent boppish fare (Good Times) to selections that seem to be on the verge of crashing into cacophony before being herded back in line (To Be Announced, Theme from Thomas Cole).
Perhaps it is the unusual line up, trumpet, trombone, cello and multiple percussionists, plus Threadgill's multi-instrumental additions that keeps this thing so interesting. Perhaps it is the quality of songwriting and arranging, also credited to Threadgill. Whatever it is, this has quickly become a favorite at Chez Hook.
Post review research has shown that Threadgill comes from the AACM collective, which I don't find surprising in retrospect. It is also an outstanding example of why I have been exploring this pathway so much more so in recent years.

Henry Threadgill Sextett - You Know The Number

1. Bermuda Blues
2. Silver and Gold baby, Silver and Gold
3. Theme from Thomas Cole

4. Good Times

5. To Be Announced

6. Paille Street

7. Those Who Eat Cookies

Henry Threadgill -bass flute, alto and tenorsaxophone
Rasul Sadik -trumpet

Frank Lacy -trombone

Diedre Murray -cello
Fred Hopkins -bass
Pheeroan Aklaff -percussion (left channel)
Reggie Nicholson -percussion (right channel)

1987 Novus/RCA 3013-2N

In all fairness, it should be stated that I asked and accepted CIA's offer to review a record and this is what I was sent. Without that great blog, I probably never would have stumbled across this record. That is where the original review was posted.

Some post review thoughts -
a.) Obviously Rab was more familiar with my taste than even I was, as this record quickly became a favorite and took several weeks to review for fear of overly gushing on about it.
b.) While research has shown this is often cited as Threadgill's most accessible lp, I intend to delve further into the man's


Arkadin said...

Thanks for adding me to your bloglist, I did the same with your blog. Some really nice albums you have here, I even know some of them to my own surprise - good luck! :)

Tim said...

I have had "I Know The Number" since it came out on vinyl many years ago. It's a great recording. You won't be sorry delving into Threadgill's back catologue. I don't think there's a 'bad' Henry Threadgill record out there. Thanks a lot for this post. It's a great one!

Cosmo Vitelli said...

This is a great record, a pity it's so little known as all the Threadgill's RCA/Novus and music overall. I collected all the Threadgill's cds I colud find in the last 10 years. I'd reccomend you Air's 'Air Lore' and HT Sextett's 'Rag, Bush And All' as high points of an almost costantly great production

Neroon001 said...

I am so looking forward to hearing this record.HT always has some very interestingline ups of musicians to my ears anyway.
I recognize your name from the blog "CIA" still pissed that it was closed down I learned alot from those guys.The only good thing is that my wallet will still have some $ left in it come Monday.
Thanks for sharing this record and letting me have a chance to hear it.

Peter said...

Great one, Mr Gemhook! :o)