Rich Thompson

Less Is More

origin 82636

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Michael Nastos, Cadence

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The modern mainstream, straight ahead jazz quintet is not a format completely exhausted in originality as proven by drummer Rich Thompson, his cast of famed all-stars, and local heroes. Keyboardist Gary Versace and trumpeter Terell Stafford are clearly the front-runners of this date, with Thompson and Jeff Campbell in solid support, and Doug Stone?s tenor as an occasional interesting flavor packet. An associate professor of music at the Eastman School in Rochester, N.Y., Thompson has a background in big band jazz, but on this second ensemble effort as a leader, he comes across as a quite able bandleader and composer in his own right. Using the Count Basie concept at the foundation for his sound, Thompson plays the title track in a six beat, medium tempo pace, accented by the sweet trumpet of the very talented, still underrated Stafford. Versace?s Hammond B-3 organ takes center stage for the funky and arresting ?Hoot Gibson? and waltz tempo of Wayne Shorter?s ?This Is For Albert? - both are gems. The most intriguing arrangement is on the kicker for the set, a take of Kenny Dorham?s ?Lotus Blossom? that brims with deliberate energy, based in a Latin tinged spice, and boosted by the modal piano of Versace. Another standout is a version of ?I?ve Never Been In Love Before? in a 5/4 time signature that bears repeated listening. Blues, a ballad, tick-tock neo-bop ala the Brecker?s or Don Grolnick, and swinging jazz is also included in this diverse, enjoyable effort. Sometimes, these kind of recordings fall through the cracks for no apparent reason, but likely due to name recognition. With Versace and Stafford in tow, they elevate this music to a much higher level, a feat Thompson should be proud of. Don?t bypass this highly recommended disc of music.






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