Remembering René Thomas (2-CD)
  • Innovation ILP2
    Innovation ILP2
  • Robert Jeanne, Thomas & Pelzer
    Robert Jeanne, Thomas & Pelzer
  • Jaspar, Bourguignon & René Thomas
    Jaspar, Bourguignon & René Thomas
  • Bobby Jaspar
    Bobby Jaspar
  • René Thomas
    René Thomas

René Thomas

Remembering René Thomas (2-CD)

Fresh Sound Records

René Thomas (g), Herman Sandy (tp), Jacques Pelzer (as), Bobby Jaspar (ts, fl), Jean Fanis, Jack Diéval, Amedeo Tommasi, Joël Vandroogenbroeck (p), Jimmy Smith (org), Paul Dubois, Bob Roach, Jacques Hess, Benoit Quersin (b), George Braxton, Daniel Humair, Jose Bourguignon, Franco Manzecchi, Donald Bailey (d)

Reference: FSRCD 993

Bar code: 8427328609937

Rare and unreleased performances by the legendary jazz guitarist

René Thomas (1927-1975) was considered the best European jazz guitarist of his generation by fellow musicians and critics, but his career was marred by the pervasive skepticism of jazz fans. Despite trying hard to carve his own space, he never obtained the recognition he deserved for his immense talent, perhaps because of his introverted character and prolonged withdrawals from the scene.

Shy and taciturn by nature —always entrenched behind a pair of thick portho— Thomas became authoritative and convincing as soon as he picked his guitar. That’s when this unique jazzman truly shined. With a deep, rich sound and absolute control of his instrument, he was always at ease, delicately distilling the most difficult passages in a simple, straight-forward manner. In the 45 years that have gone by since his death, René Thomas has become a legend, and although today he enjoys worldwide respect and admiration, he is still often underrated in comparison with other great guitarists. This album is a humble homage to this guitar genius.

CD 1
01. Motion (Jimmy Raney) 3:46
02. There'll Never Be Another You (Warren-Gordon) 4:01
03. Lover Man (Davis-Sherman-Ramirez) 3:54
04. Stella by Starlight (Victor Young) 2:33
05. Whose Blues (Lennie Niehaus) 2:56
06. Au Privave (Charlie Parker) 11:09
07. Blue Train (John Coltrane) 11:36
08. Milestones (Miles Davis) 6:33
09. Motion (Jimmy Raney) 7:00
10. All Mornin' Long (Red Garland) 10:02
11. It Could Happen to You (Burke-Van Heusen) 5:04
12. Never Morning (René Thomas) 3:51

CD 2
01. Milestones (Miles Davis) 7:17
02. It Could Happen to You (Burke-Van Heusen) 9:17
03. Oleo (Sonny Rollins) 3:56
04. Ballata in forma di blues (Amedeo Tommasi) 5:53
05. It Could Happen to You (Burke-Van Heusen) 5:03
06. I Remember Sonny (René Thomas) 5:09
07. Au Privave (Charlie Parker) 5:40
08. Easy Living (Rainger-Robin) 5:10
09. Our Delight (Tadd Dameron) 4:57
10. Moonlight in Vermont (Vernon Duke) 3:52
11. Well You Needn't (Thelonious Monk) 5:23
12. Blues (P.D.) 7:48
13. Stardust (Carmichael-Parish) 5:18

Album details

Tracks #1-5 on CD1 from “Jacques Pelzer Modern Jazz Sextet” (Innovation ILP2)
Tracks #6-10 on CD1 and #3-6 on CD2 live recordings and broadcasts
Tracks #11 & 12 on CD1 and #1, 2 & 7-13 on CD2 © INA (Institut National d’Audiovisuel, Paris, France)

Personnel on CD 1:

Jacques Pelzer, alto sax; René Thomas, guitar; Jean Fanis, piano; Paul Dubois, bass; Rudy Frankel, drums; Herman Sandy, trumpet (#2 & 5).
Recorded in Brussels, Belgium, May 18, 1955

René Thomas, guitar; Bob Roach, bass; George Braxton, drums.
Recorded at Café Lutece, Montreal, Canada, February, 1960

René Thomas, guitar; Benoît Quersin, bass; José Bourguignon, drums.
Recorded at Comblain-la-Tour Jazz Festival, July 30, 1961

Bobby Jaspar, flute; René Thomas, guitar; Jacques Hess, bass; Franco Manzecchi, drums.
Studio session for the show “Jazz aux Champs-Élysées”, Paris, November 6, 1961

Personnel on CD 2:

Bobby Jaspar, tenor sax & flute; René Thomas, guitar; Jack Diéval, piano; Jacques Hess, bass; Franco Manzecchi, drums.
Recorded live from the show “Jazz aux Champs-Élysées”, Paris, Fall 1961

Bobby Jaspar, tenor sax & flute; René Thomas, guitar; Amedeo Tommasi, piano; Benoît Quersin, bass; Daniel Humair, drums.
Recorded live at Radio-TV, RTBF, Brussels, January 16, 1962

René, guitar; Joël Vandroogenbroeck, piano; Benoît Quersin, bass; Daniel Humair, drums.
Recorded at Festival d’Antibes Juan-les-Pins, July 20, 1962

René Thomas, guitar; Jimmy Smith, organ; Donald Bailey, drums.
Recorded at Festival d’Antibes Juan-les-Pins, July 22, 1962

René Thomas, acoustic guitar; Jack Diéval, piano; Jacques Hess, bass; Franco Manzecchi, drums.
Studio session for the show “Jazz aux Champs-Élysées”, Paris, late summer 1962

This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Mastered by Pieter De Wagter
Liner notes written by Jordi Pujol

Mono · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas S.L.
Special thanks to Christiane Lemire & Pascal Rozat (INA), Jean-Pol Schroeder
(Maison du Jazz de Liège), Christian Dangleterre, and Sébastien Joulie

Press reviews

"Well known in France, guitarist René Thomas’s reputation didn’t get much traction in the US, but his playing is on a par with the likes of Herb Ellis and Kenny Burrell. There’s even a dash of Grant Green on some of these obscure sessions ranging from 1955-1962, and while the recording sound quality sometimes varies, the music stays consistently hot on this two disc set.

Thomas displays his bop chops and loyalty from the get go, here, with a Brussels outing in ’55 showing clean lines on mid tempo pieces like “Motion” and a melodic “There Will Never Be Another You” while alto saxist Jacques Pelzer gives some Bird calls on “Lover Man”. Thomas sounds most comfortable on some trio sessions from concerts in 1960-1961, stretching out on an ultra hip “Blue Train” and giving more uptemp reads of “Motion” while the original “Milestones” is cool and suave. Thomas dos some Grant Greenish rolls on a relaxed “All Mornin’ Long” and teams with Bobby Jaspar On Flute an dJacques Hess/b with Franco Manzechi/dr for asubli me read of “It Could Happen To You”.

The second disc has Jasper on flute and tenor as he co-leads a quintet with Thomas on another take of “Milestones” featuring warm tenor tones. For a 1962 radio-TV broadcast, the twon lead a bopping team on “Oleo” and nifty Thomas original “I Remember Sonny”. Thomas leads a quartet at an Antibes Jazz festival in 1962 and bops to a rapid runner in “Our Delight” and sizzles on “Au Privave”. At the same festival, Hammond B3er Jimmy Smith comes in with his drummer Donald Bailey for an impromptu “Blues” that is as good as any vintage Blue Note Session, with the guitarist shows his acoustic tone on an intimate “Stardust.”

The liner notes give an excellent perspective on Thomas’ career, and the session listing must have been done by Sherlock Holmes. Don’t overlook this guy!"

George W. Harris (September 7, 2020)


14,95 €  (tax incl.)

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