Energy Control Center cover

Energy Control Center


Texas isn’t considered a jazz hotbed for good reason, as Jim Crow ran multiple generations of talent well beyond its borders (Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, John Carter, Horace Tapscott, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and more). So Houston’s Fourth Ward native and drummer Bubbha Thomas stands out, not just for his formidable chops but for his sheer determination in the face of outright racism and institutional indifference (if there’s a difference at the end of the day). Energy Control Center from 1972 finds Thomas and his group The Lightmen Plus One operating at a full boil. The expanded Now Again release features the band ranging confidently: big band horn charts, modal explorations, funk workouts, spiritual blowing, concise jukebox-worthy singles, with some weird electronics thrown in for good measure. It hints at what a fully functioning Houston (or Dallas or Ft. Worth or Austin or…) jazz scene might have sounded like were it able to incubate and operate at full bloom.

Andy Beta

Remain in Light cover

Remain in Light

Angélique Kidjo
Walk Alone cover

Walk Alone

Napoleon Cherry
Reachin’ cover


Roger Glenn
Mainstream Funk cover

Mainstream Funk

Various Artists
Winelight cover


Grover Washington Jr.
Motherland cover


The Visitors
Tribal Rites cover

Tribal Rites

Bill Brewster
Trident cover


McCoy Tyner
Orange Fish Tears cover

Orange Fish Tears

Baikida Carroll