Famous for his affiliation with hard rock rockers Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones is a proficient multi-instrumentalist who has delved into multiple genres since the mega-popular band’s departure from the scene. He has produced various artists and has composed for film, amid collaborations with avant-garde diva Diamanda Galás and others. The Thunderthief represents only his third solo effort.
King Crimson’s fabled guitar hero Robert Fripp provides a stinging solo on the power packed opener, “Leafy Meadows.” Meanwhile, Jones utilizes a vast array of instruments along with some assistance from Chapman Stick ace Nick Beggs, drummer Terl Bryant, and guitarist Adam Bomb. This production features a vibrant mix, consisting of hard driving progressive rock numbers, folksy deities, and angst ridden tunes that feature Jones’ rather opaque vocalise. One of the unlikely gems on this outing, “Ice Fishing at Night,” features the leader’s enticingly melodic acoustic piano work and endearing lyricism, enhanced by introspective vocalizations. Jones’ hurried and somewhat forced vocals come to fruition on a few of the burning rockers, yet the slightly tongue-in-cheek lyrics allude to a lack of austerity – and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
On the piece titled “Hoediddle,” Jones fuses a bit of hard rock with an enticing Irish jig: an opus that serves as another testament to this man’s pronounced ingenuity. Sure, some of these tunes fare better than others, but the bottom line here is Jones’ wide-ranging tendencies. In retrospect, it becomes easily discernible why his compositional and instrumental contributions to Led Zeppelin were key to that band’s success. We can only hope for fewer gaps between forthcoming solo endeavors.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.