NY Jazz Initiative: Mad About Thad

Trumpeter Thad Jones’ career can easily be divided into 3 major stages:
1) Charles Mingus discovery of a post bopping trumpeter par excellence
who put out a handful of very snazzy small group sessions, 2) big band
trumpeter for Count Basie’s New Testament Orchestra who brought
attention back to the band with some clever tunes and his iconic solo
on “April In Paris and 3) the co-leader with Mel Lewis of the very
important orchestra of the 70s and 80s. Since he’s gone to his great
heavenly reward (his dad WAS a church deacon, remember!), Thad’s
influence has been through his myriad of impressive compositions. This
is not the first tribute to his pen, but it’s a nice one, all right.

The band is essentially a nonet, making the sounds rich yet keeping
that all important flexibility. The tunes like “Mean What You Say” and
“Bird Song” have some wonderful brass charts, while the soloing by Art Hirahara/p, Rob Derke/ss-ts and Ralph Lalama/ts are as sophisticated as
the arrangements. The obligatory “A Child Is Born” has wonderful horn
work by David Smith, and the subdued “Quiet Lady” includes flowing
piano delivered by David Bryant. Very heady material, but with enough
gut level to keep you intrigued.

Jazzheads Records


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