Thrust was a Cincinnati, Ohio label which was in operation between 1979-81 before disappearing into the music history ether, like many other small soul, jazz and funk labels in the 20th century. The only recorded releases are between those years, but there may well be rarer gems not yet discovered.

Cincinnati was a ‘hotbed’ for jazz musicians; Fats Waller was a resident on local station WLW and McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef passed through. But one name that keeps cropping up that isn’t as well known outside Cincinnati is saxophonist Jimmy McGary (nicknamed locally as ‘Father Jazz’), who released on this mysterious Thrust label several times.

It appears the only other releases on Thrust are from Cincinnati jazz musicians such as flautist Elliot Jablonsky’s (also a chef at a local restaurant) Ethereal and the Leaving Blue LP from pianist & violinist Steve Schmidt and Paul Patterson and their Quartet.

Evidence of the founding of this label is scarce, and whilst one can trawl through old newspaper snippets from the Cincinnati Observer from 1980 about Elliot Jablonsky’s stiff playing style in Ethereal, the label still remains a mystery. Newspaper listings record how these musicians regularly played at local clubs, especially McGary and were clearly well-known in the Cincinnati jazz scene. Thrust may have been set up by one of these musicians to help these local jazz-heroes to break out of the Cinci’ scene, with a powerful artwork for an extra push.

Thrust these sounds into your ears:

  • Ethereal – Molto Taco Homo (1980)
  • Jimmy McGary Quartet – Simone (1979)
    • Jimmy McGary was “THE bebop tenor player in Cincinnati” in 1960, according to David Matthews, who alongside McGary played in Cinci’ jazz-group Sound Museum. Believe it or not, jazz musicians (led by Matthews, but not including McGary) of Sound Museum would go on to record a psych-rock record for James Brown & his new label People, titled The Grodeck Whipperjenny. Both the Grodeck & Two Tone Poems records on Thrust are rare beasts of Cincinnati music legend.


2 years ago