Make a Move is Henry Threadgill's electric band in one sense of the word. Though guitarist Brandon Ross and bassist Stomu Takeishi play acoustic instruments as well, their primary focus in Make a Move is to make their stringed instruments scream unto the heavens. Filling out the group is Threadgill on alto and flute, Bryan Carrott on vibes and marimba, and the only holdover from Zoo-Id, Dafnis Prieto, on drums. This set is issued simultaneously with Zoo-Id's Up Popped Two Lips
, also on Pi. This set opens abstractly enough with "Platinum Inside Straight," a meditation on extended mode and interval, with Brandon Ross playing a gorgeous acoustic line on top of Carrott's marimba and then delicately chorded vibes. Takeishi's bass holds the thing to the ground by playing a small series of tone frames over and over, and Threadgill grabs one short flute solo. Things heat up and get funky on "Don't Turn Around," which is driven by the funk in the rhythm section's approach. There's a knotty arpeggio here and there by Ross and Carrott before Threadgill turns "Harlem Nocturne" inside out with his alto. This is film noir soundtrack music George Clinton
-style. There is also the trace of the Ornette Coleman
-styled Texas blues slithering in and out of Threadgill's playing. The vibes' solo is so off-kilter, it barely holds the time signature and would move off into inner space if it weren't for the chunky, groove-laden bassline of Takeishi. The hippest track on the set, though, is "Shake It Off," with the staggered bass and guitar solos that constitute the track's opening melodic statement. The drive Prieto puts in to keep the pair in track is considerable, and Takeishi just takes off against the snares, followed closely by the arpeggios and razored riffs of Ross. But before it moves off into fusion land, Threadgill and Carrott bring it back, with flute and marimbas whirling around each other and staggering the atonality of the strings with wondrously loopy and flighty playing grounded in minor-seventh modalities and open-toned sonorities, which keep the bassist a part of the rhythm section and Ross in painterly position. This is deft footwork on the part of Threadgill as a leader, who lets his musicians shine and keeps them focused on the task at hand. Everybody's Mouth's a Book
is as solid top to bottom as its companion release on Pi.