Powerhouse drummer, composer and educator Rich Thompson is joined by an all star lineup to compliment Thompson's second release for Origin, Less Is More. Origin continues to impress and steps up to the plate by helping to gather a major league jazz collective highlighted with the fire of perhaps the best trumpet player today in Terell Stafford and pianist/organist Gary Versace. Rounding out this formidable quintet we find Doug Stone on tenor saxophone and Jeff Campbell on bass.
The set list here is first rate and embraces the wheelhouse of each artistic voice presented here. Standards from the Great American Songbook seem elevated if not reborn and this is particularly evident in the presentation of "I've Never Been In Love Before." Terell Stafford simply crushes the Kenny Dorham classic "Lotus Blossom" while originals from Thompson and Campbell are strategically positioned and were it not for a more than adequate working knowledge of the compositions here it would be very easy to mistake both the Campbell tune "Hoot Gibson" and the Thompson tune "Less Is More" as perhaps soon to be standards simply marking time in their respective musical on deck circles. Stone nails the Wayne Shorter tune "This Is For Albert" while the Joe Henderson tune "Step Lightly" is a refreshing and seldom recorded composition worthy of far more recognition.
There is a prevailing blues vibe lurking just beneath the tunes on this most impressive straight ahead collective mix. A subtle warmth broken apart by the carefully placed pop of a band that carries that working band feel from the classic Blue Note days to another level. A recording mired in confidence and steeped in precise execution while never losing the lyrical course charted from the opening tune "Lotus Blossom" has Rich Thompson reinforcing his stellar reputation with what may be one of the sleepers of the year!
Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet/flugelhorn; Doug Stone: tenor saxophone; Gary Versace: piano, hammond b3; Jeff Campbell: bass; Rich Thompson: drums.
Tracks: 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.