Reference: FSRCD 355
Bar code: 8427328603553
1. Tune For Tex (Billy Taylor) 6:25
2. Where Or When (Rodgers-Hart) 6:24
3. Mr. E-Z (J.Hamilton) 8:05
4. Kamman's A'Comin' (Oscar Pettiford) 13:13
5. Ever So Easy (Lucky Thompson) 7:33
6. Salute To Charlie Parker (J.Hamilton) 3:19
7. Mood Indigo (D.Ellington) 4:18
8. Easy To Love (C.Porter) 5:02
9. Prelude To A Mood (J.Hamilton) 3:35
Recorded in New York City, 1954
Ernie Royal is added on trumpet for the last four tracks and pianist Earl Knight replaces Billy Taylor.
Lucky Thompson was one of the great tenors to emerge during the 1940s and one of the first "modern" soprano saxophonists (taking up the instrument prior to John Coltrane and around the same time as Steve Lacy), but he was always a bit overshadowed by more spectacular players. After some local gigs, he moved to New York in the early '40s, playing briefly with Lionel Hampton and Don Redman in 1943, and Billy Eckstine and Lucky Millinder in 1944. During 1944-1945, he gained some attention with Count Basie (where Thompson had succeeded his main influence, Don Byas). Although his large tone looked toward the swing era, Thompson's advanced improvising fit in well with bop players. He settled on the West Coast after leaving Basie, was hired as "insurance" by Dizzy Gillespie in case Charlie Parker did not show up (he recorded with both), and cut many sessions (his solo on "Just One More Chance" was a personal favorite) during his stay in Los Angeles, performing with Boyd Raeburn and the short-lived Stars of Swing. In 1947, Lucky moved to Detroit and the following year he returned to New York. He led a band regularly at the Savoy during 1951-1953 and, in 1954, starred on Miles Davis' famous Walkin' session. In 1956, Thompson was a top soloist with Stan Kenton (appearing on Cuban Fire) and during the next two years he cut many sessions both as a leader and as a sideman. He lived in France during two periods (1957-1962 and 1968-1971), started doubling on soprano, and taught at Dartmouth during 1973-1974. And then it all stopped. Lucky Thompson completely dropped out of the music business (despite still being in his musical prime) and, other than a few rumors, has not been heard from since; a major loss to jazz.
- by Scott Yanow (AMG).
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