Lucky Thompson

Lucky Thompson was 31 years old at the time of these sessions and had amassed professional credentials which speak for themselves. He spent his teenage years working local jobs in Detroit with such contemporaries as Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, Al McKibbon and Sonny Stitt. He went on the road for the first time in '42, and over the next four years gained experience with the big bands of Lionel Hampton, Bill Eckstine, Lucky Millinder, and Count Basie.

This session was taped during a brief visit to Paris. Thompson fronts the group of drummer Gerard Pochonet, Michel Hausser on vibes, Algerian pianist Martial Solal, go-to French session bassist Pierre Michelot, and guitarist Jean Pierre Sasson. Thompson's poetic sense of phrase is especially moving on the slower material, and his sophisticated harmonic approach produced striking chordal substitutions. Both the experienced fan and the occasional listener will recognize in Lucky Thompson an inspiring and unique voice in the jazz world.

SKU: IC7016

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I Can't Give You Anything but Love Don't Blame Me East of the Sun Our Love is Here to Stay I Cover the Waterfront My Funny Valentine Undecided Tenderly But Not For Me You Go To My Head Lullaby in Rhythm Indian Summer

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Lucky Thompson
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Gerard Pochonet, Michel Hausser, Martial Solal, Pierre Michelot, Jean Pierre Sasson
SKU IC7016


Customer Reviews (3)

"Lucky Strikes!"Review by Big Toots
IC 7016 Lucky Thompson

Lucky Thompson, as John Coltrane also did when he traveled on road buses, developed a “broom sax” that enabled him to endlessly and silently “practice” without disturbing others. Whether or not that added a unique dimension to Thompson’s flowing playing ability or not, who knows? However, it is obvious from this fine effort that improvisationally and otherwise Thompson “sweeps” clean – and superbly - across these dozen well-worn jazz standards.

Recorded in France with a French rhythm section, Thompson, raised in the musical well-spring that was Detroit, takes tenor here and motors gracefully throughout the highly entertaining session. Obviously a disciple of Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas and Ben Webster – with a dollop of Lester and dash of Bird thrown in for many very good measures – Thompson’s improv approach is highly embellished and moves with great authority on both melody and solo (“Don’t Blame Me”). Soundwise, Thompson’s tenor is “Riding Hood” just right. Each note spoken is centered and robust and the far side from side from forceful. That attribute provides an attractive dimension to Thompson’s flow of ideas (“I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” “East of the Sun”).

Lest one think that Thompson couldn’t swing at varied tempos, check out both the faster and slower material (“Our Love is Here to Stay,” “Undecided” and “I Cover the Waterfront,” “My Funny Valentine” where Lucky unabashedly ghosts Hawk and “read” his Webster’s).

The rhythm section adequately supports. However, it is pianist Martial Solal (“Indian Summer”) and vibist Michel Hausser (“Lullaby in Rhythm”) that stand out.
Whether Thompson lived up to his nickname, who knows and cares? It was – and is – skill trumps fortune in this fine recorded case. It is us who are definitely the lucky ones.

(Posted on 6/8/2015)
Lucky ThompsonReview by Simon Sez
The last chapter of Lucky Thompson’s life will always be a mystery. A really great tenor-saxophonist who came up in the mid-1940s, and one who started doubling on the soprano in the late 1950s, Thompson had the usual up and down career of a jazz musician. That is, until the early 1970s. In 1973 Thompson, who had been teaching music at Dartmouth and was still recording regularly, suddenly stopped playing saxophone and permanently dropped out of music. He became homeless, probably suffered from mental illness, and spent his last 32 years in the shadows. There were many rumors of sightings but he never returned even though he certainly could have made good money if he had come back in the 1980s. What was he thinking during this period?
This Inner City CD is from 1956 so it has Lucky Thompson sounding wonderful many years before his troubles. He spent a lot of time in Europe and this was from one of his stays. Joined by an all-star rhythm section that includes Martial Solal on piano, Thompson is hot on the uptempo pieces and warm on the ballads, showing listeners just how exciting a player he was during his happier years.

Simon Sez: Lucky Thompson (IC7016) did not have the luckiest life, but we are lucky that he made so many fine records, including this one from 1956.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by ~ Scott Yanow
This excellent but out-of-print Inner City release of material originally cut for Vogue features the great Lucky Thompson exploring a dozen standards in France with the assistance of vibraphonist Michel Hausser, pianist Martial Solal, guitarist Jean Pierre Sasson, either Pierre Michelot or Benoit Querson on bass and drummer Gerard Pochonet. A superior blowing session, Thompson makes such veteran songs as "I Can't Give You Anything but Love," "I Cover the Waterfront," "Undecided" and "Indian Summer" sound quite fresh, alive and swinging. (Posted on 6/14/2013)

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