by John Tarpley
Although its home to the state's jazz hall of fame, Tulsa, Okla., seems to be an unlikely hotbed for young jazz musicians. Likewise, Sir Threadius Mongus' 2006 album "This is Threadius Mongus" was an unlikely choice for the distinction of the best CD to come across my desk in months. Imagine living in an apartment between two people with big stereos, one side playing Lena Horne and the other blasting "Trout Mask Replica" by Captain Beefheart. It's an ambitious idea for the young "hot club" jazz ensemble, but what's really thrilling is the execution, precise, shambled and acrobatic all at once. But difficult listening it's not. Sir Threadius Mongus offers the accessibility of mom-jazz like, say, Diana Krall, with the free-jazz spirit of fellow Oklahoman and Blue Note Records icon Don Cherry. Fronted by vocal wunderkind Annie Ellicott and guitarist (and Little Rock native) Jeff Davis, the six-piece is a shocker live, as well. At risk of drowning them with praise, I'll simply say this show is my big To-Do pick for the week.