4

Rich Thompson: Less is More

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Rich Thompson: Less is More Drummer and educator Rich Thompson's third release as a leader Less is More, on the Seattle based Origin records, is a suave mix of quintessential hard bop standards; show tunes and a couple of originals that is full of delightful group dynamics and individual virtuosity. Thompson leads his quartet with a relaxed confidence and impeccable dexterity all the while maintaining both a thematic unity and a uniform excellence throughout.

Opening with trumpeter Kenny Dorham's "Lotus Blossom" the record kicks in high gear with horn player Terell Stafford's burnished, rapid fire trumpet improvisation that blows over the percolating vamps of the rhythm trio. The momentum does not slack until the last notes of the final track; saxophonist Joe Henderson penned "Step Lightly." The latter features tenorist Doug Stone's gritty, wail blowing over keyboardist Gary Versace's thick, resonant Hammond B3 lines.

Stone matches his heady, vibrato filled, tone to Thompson's darkly hued, harmonically rich drums in the achingly beautiful duet take of the Rodgers and Hart "I Didn't Know What Time It Was." The classic song is peppered with Latin hints and cloaked in a captivating crepuscular ambiance.

Versace showcases his total mastery of the piano as well as the organ as he switches from one to the other with finesse and facility. On the title piece Versace's pianism manifests as cascading, intricately woven, spontaneous phrases that match the complexity of the main motif. Stafford's clear, mellow flugelhorn states the melody with reserved passion and a touch of melancholy. Bassist Jeff Campbell's lyrical and intelligent solo concludes this Thompson composition with elegance.

Meanwhile Campbell's own "Hoot Gibson" highlights Versace's skills on the Hammond B3 as he lays down a unique blend of psychedelic sounds and earthy grooves. Stafford's muted horn growls with soulful swagger as Campbell builds exuberant refrains that slide along greasy organ chords.

Thompson's engaging and enjoyable album is neither necessarily innovative nor groundbreaking. It does, however, have a certain intriguing quality because of the superlative artistry of the band members and their sophisticated approach to the material. The deceptive ease with which they interpret the music makes for a pleasurable listening experience.

Track Listing: Lotus Blossom; Hoot Gibson; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Camping Out; Less Is More; Invisible; It's So Easy To Remember; This Is For Albert; I've Never Been In Love Before; Step Lightly.

Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet/flugelhorn (1-2, 4-9); Doug Stone: tenor saxophone (3,10); Gary Versace: piano, Hammond B3; Jeff Campbell: bass; Rich Thompson: drums.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Origin Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Fly South" CD/LP/Track Review Fly South
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Planetary Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Planetary Prince
by Christopher Hoard
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Freedom is a State of Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom is a State of Mind
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!