1/  Come Carry The Day                         (Threadgill)                  6.06
  2/  Growing A Big Banana                       (Threadgill)                  3.26
  3/  Vivjanrondirkski                           (Threadgill)                  5.55
  4/  Between Orchids Lilies Blind               (Threadgill)                  7.45
           Eyes And Cricket
  5/  Hyla Crucifer...Silence of                 (Threadgill)                  6.09
  6/  Jenkins Boys Again, Wish Somebody          (Threadgill)                  7.39
               Die, It's Hot

          Recorded at Power Station, New York City
          Produced by Bill Laswell
VERY VERY CIRCUS - Henry Threadgill: alto saxophone, bass flute, flute; Mark Taylor: french horn; Brandon Ross: electric and soprano guitars; Masujaa: electric guitar; Edwin Rodriquez: tuba; Marcus Rojas: tuba & Gene Lake: drums. PLUS - Wu Man (1,3,5): pipa; Tony Cedras (1,3,5): accordion; Jason Hwang (1,3,5): violin; Johnny Rudas (1,3,5): percussion, vocals; Miguel Urbina (1,3,5): percussion, vocals; Sentienla Toy (3,5): vocals; Mossa Bildner (5): vocals.

          1995 - Columbia/Sony Entertainment (USA), CK 66995 (CD)
Note: Bill Laswell does not play on this album.


It seems that every five years or so Columbia signs a token avant-garde musician. Arthur Blythe and Tim Berne emerged from their experiences as major-label artists relatively unscathed and, on evidence of Henry Threagill's somewhat forbidding Columbia debut, it would not be surprising if the altoist survived his stint with his priorities straight. There is certainly nothing commercial or watered down about this CD. The music ranges from "Come Carry the Day" (which builds from a group chart to some very dense ensembles) and Threadgill's Dolphyish alto on "Between Orchids" to a couple of very odd vocals and the intense group improv "Jenkins Boys." The group sound (with its accordions, tubas and Mark Taylor's french horn) is attractive in its own way even if the originals do little more than set mysterious moods. This unique music takes several listens to absorb and even then it still might be somewhat incomprehensible. At 37 minutes, it is all over too soon.

Scott Yanow (courtesy of the All Music Guide, via the Get Music website)