Monday, October 01, 2007

Lucky Thompson - Lord, Lord am I Ever Gonna Know (Candid 1690, 1997)

Lucky Thompson was a tenor and soprano saxophonist that bridged swing and bop with a fluid, breathy tone reminiscent of Lester Young. This album was recorded in 1960 with Martial Solal on piano, Peter Trunk on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums, but the music was not released until 1997 on the Candid label. The disc begins in an interesting way, with a recording of Thompson speaking on the perception of musicians within society. According to the Penguin Guide this was for a conference on Thompson's music that never came to pass. The music itself is very well done, the band is very comfortable and Thompson switches between tenor and soprano deftly. He is especially impressive on the unaccompanied "Choose Your Own" where he tells a compelling story on his own. Thompson has a particularly beautiful tone on ballads, "Love and Respect" and "Warm Inside" both feature his breathy and supple tone which is soft and patient but never cloying. "Say That To Say This" and "Scratching the Surface" show the group performing well at fast tempos, especially Solal who contributes percussive accompaniment to the proceedings. I enjoyed this album quite a bit, Thompson was a musician that I had read about a few times but had never listened to. Listeners who like strong tenor players that mix swing and bop along the lines of Don Byas and Chu Berry will find this music enjoyable.

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