The Squid's Ear Magazine

Threadgill, Henry Very Very Circus: Spirit Of Nuff... Nuff [VINYL] (Black Saint)

Reissuing saxophonist, flutist, bandleader & composer Henry Threadgill's 1991 Black Saint album, introducing his then-new band Very Very Circus, uniquely configured with two tubas (Marcus Rojas, Edwin Rodriguez), two guitars (Brandon Ross, Masujaa, aka Hugh Riley), trombone (Curtis Fowlkes), and drums (Gene Lake), with Threadgill himself leading his fascinatingly layered compositions.

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product information:

UPC: 8056099005732

Label: Black Saint
Catalog ID: BS 120134-LP
Squidco Product Code: 32542

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: E.U.
Packaging: LP
Recorded at R.P.M. Studios, in New York, New York, November 19th, 20th and 21st, 1990, by David Stone and Jeff Lippay.
Originally released in 1991 as a vinyl LP on the Italian Black Saint label with catalog code 120 134-1.


Henry Threadgill-alto saxophone, flute

Curtis Fowlkes-trombone

Brandon Ross-electric guitar

Masujaa-(Hugh Riley) electric guitar

Marcus Rojas-tuba

Edwin Rodriguez-tuba

Gene Lake-drums

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Originally released in 1991 this was Henry Threadgill's new band's debut release. That's where Threadgill introduced the unique concept of dual tubas and dual electric guitars. In Very Very Circus's ultra-layered sound world all roles melt equally into an unprecedented sound experience. A big step forward in modern jazz from one of the greatest composers of our time."-Black Saint

"After trailblazing stints with the avant-garde jazz trio Air in the '70s and his seven-piece sextet in the '80s, Henry Threadgill changes direction once again with a two tuba, two guitar, trombone, and drums outfit he calls Very Very Circus. Threadgill's layered, idiosyncratic compositions still abound, but as one would expect from a front line like this, the sound is darker and more dense than on prior releases. The new approach is especially evident in the thick mix of reverb-riddled guitar notes, rumbling tuba phrases, and march rhythms heard on numbers like "Drivin' You Slow and Crazy," "Bee Dee Aff," and "Unrealistic Love." Threadgill does lighten the tone, though, by including the Calypso-inspired number "Hope a Hope A" and intricately buoyant themes like "Exacto" and "In the Ring." Standout contributions include Masujaa's mercurial guitar solo on "Unrealistic Love," Threadgill's haunting flute work on "First Church of This," and drummer Gene Lake's supple and tight rhythmic support throughout. Another excellent title from one of jazz's most progressive and original artists."-Stephen Cook, All Music

Get additional information at All Music

Artist Biographies

"Henry Threadgill (born February 15, 1944) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, saxophonist and flautist, who came to prominence in the 1970s leading ensembles with unusual instrumentation and often incorporating a range of non-jazz genres.

Threadgill studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, majoring in piano, flute, and composition. He studied piano with Gail Quillman and composition with Stella Roberts. He has been a bandleader and composer for over forty years. He was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition In for a Penny, In for a Pound, which premiered at Roulette Intermedium on December 4, 2014

Threadgill has performed and recorded with several ensembles: Air, Aggregation Orb, Make a Move, the seven-piece Henry Threadgill Sextett, the twenty-piece Society Situation Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, and Zooid."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Curtis Fowlkes (born March 19, 1950) is an American jazz trombonist and singer. He is a founding member of The Jazz Passengers.

In 1987, Fowlkes started The Jazz Passengers with saxophonist Roy Nathanson. He has also been a member of The Lounge Lizards, the Kansas City All-Stars, and a quartet led by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. He has toured with Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra when it was led by drummer Louis Bellson. He released his debut solo album in 1999."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Brandon K. Ross is an American jazz guitarist.

Ross was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and did clerical work for Leroy Jenkins before playing with Archie Shepp and Marion Brown in the second half of the 1970s. In the 1980s he worked with Geri Allen, Charles Burnham, and Oliver Lake in an ensemble, and also worked with Butch Morris.

He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Gene Lake, Marcus Rojas, John Lurie, Henry Threadgill, Don Byron, Cassandra Wilson and others."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Best known for his work in jazz, Marcus Rojas is a graduate of New York City's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and holds a B.Mus. degree (with distinction) from the New England Conservatory of Music.

A longtime member of Spanish Fly, which includes Steven Bernstein (trumpet) and David Tronzo (guitar), he has played on over 300 recordings. He has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of musicians, including They Might Be Giants, John Zorn, Henry Threadgill, Sly & Robbie, and Foetus.

He teaches at New York University, the State University of New York at Purchase, Brooklyn College, and the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division."

-Brooklyn College (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Oliver Gene Lake, Jr. (born January 12, 1966 in St. Louis) is an American jazz drummer. He is the son of saxophonist Oliver Lake.

Lake began playing drums when he was five years old, and took lessons with Pheeroan akLaff as a high schooler at The High School of Music & Art in New York City. He attended Berklee College of Music, where he worked with Tommy Campbell, and played in local Boston bands in a variety of styles. He played with his father in New York in 1987 and 1988, then joined Henry Threadgill's ensemble in 1990. Later in the 1990s he worked with Steve Coleman, Lunar Crush (with David Fiuczynski and John Medeski), Marcus Miller, Brandon Ross, David Sanborn, the World Saxophone Quartet, and Joe Zawinul. Outside of jazz, Lake also played with R&B musicians such as Maxwell and Me'Shell Ndegeocello.

Lake has been a resident of Montclair, New Jersey."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:


1. Hope A Hope A 7:40

2. Unrealistic Love 10:39

3. Drivin' You Slow And Crazy 10:29


1. Bee Dee Aff 9:28

2. First Church Of This 8:04

3. Exacto 5:02

4. In The Ring 6:48

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Sextet Recordings
Jazz Reissues
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
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