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Lucky Thompson

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What tenor saxophonist appeared in the 1950s on record dates with Monk, Teagarden, Milt Jackson , and Sammy Price? Lucky. He's a great one.

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I haven't heard much Lucky Thompson. I have a McGriff record with him on it that's smokin!

Any suggestions?

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"Tricotism" is one of his best efforts. It's OOP now, but copies surface often. Anything he did in Paris in the 1950s, including the aforementioned date with the blues pianist Sammy Price. He also did a great date for Urania called "Accent on Tenor Sax" which was reissued on a Fresh Sounds CD, but it's OOP and HTF.

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I heard that Lucky was one of the first American jazz musicians in Europe. He supposedly really whipped a lot of the better players into shape.

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I really dig "Lucky Strikes" on Prestige/OJC, and I just discovered "Brown Rose" on Xanadu. Both are quite good, IMHO, and are fueled by a couple of great pianists, Hank Jones on the former session and Martial Solal on the latter.

Not being a fan of the soprano sax, I like Lucky's work on tenor more, but he's not bad on the soprano.

I haven't heard but a song or two from "Tricotism", but I've read a lot of good things about it. With Oscar Pettiford and Jimmy Cleveland, how can it be bad? :)

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And don't forget Lucky's magnificent solo on Miles Davis' "Walkin" on Prestige.

Wow!

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Lucky surelky wasnt one of the first to viist Europe. Even the Original Dixieland Jass Band went there in the twenties and Coleman Hawkins and Bill Coleman some time after that.

Lucky's best stuff was with Martial Solal in Europe 1956 on and his work with Oscar Pettiford . Lucky is truely an unrecognised great. The newish reissues on EMI France under the "Americans Swinging in Paris " banner are well worth checking out ( one in his name the other Kenny Clarke)- amazon.fr for availability

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I'm VERY fond of Lucky's Groove Merchant sides (is COOK COUNTY the McGriff side you refer to, Jim? There were two others.) , his last before his "disappearance". Very mellow-yet-deep stuff.

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Lucky will always be among my top five tenor saxists. I recommend:

- Tricotism (Impulse) - his complete ABC sessions, either trio with Pettiford and Skeeter Best, or quintet with Jimmy Cleveland and Osie Johnson added; the trios are sublime

- the Paris dates, especially the ones with Emmett Berry and Guy Lafitte on the recent Americans Swinging In Paris CD;

- the sessions with Kenny Clarke and Martial Solal in the same series

- the session with Solal recently reissued on High Note

- the unearthed Candid session with Solal and Klook

- the Groove Merchant sides

- the sessions with Milt Jackson, two each on Atlantic and Savoy, the latter scattered over four LPs

- his late 1940s / early 1950s sides for RCA Victor and Decca

but I never heard him play a bad note ....

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The French recordings mentioned include (in addition to the EMIs mentioned) two discs on Vogue and 2 more in the inexpensive Jazz in Paris series. These are all wonderful discs.

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I'm VERY fond of Lucky's Groove Merchant sides (is COOK COUNTY the McGriff side you refer to, Jim? There were two others.) , his last before his "disappearance". Very mellow-yet-deep stuff.

Yeah, the Cook County is the one I have. His disapperance? I haven't heard of this... :huh:

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I counted 14 or 15 sessions Lucky did during his first stay in Paris, recorded between February 22 and May 11, 1956, issued on 9 different LP's or EP's, all of them issued under his name! More than pretty much any other American in Europe did in such a short time!

His second stay yielded 12 more sessions between June 1957 and Spring 1961, not counting those in other European countries (another 3 or 4), but this time only 4 were released under his name.

There was another stay between 1968 and 1970 with LPs in Germany and Spain and live recordings from Switzerland.

B-3er, Lucky quit playing music because of his frustration with the business side of music. For a while he lived in a cabin in the woods, even on the streets of Seattle; last report I found was he was in an insititution in the Seattle area with no more remembrance he once was a great jazz musician. But it's hard to find definite details. There were some (probably deleted) posts on the BNBB about this.

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In the early '80s he lived on one of the Georgia Sea Islands, then moved to Savannah. I was in touch with him then by phone and letter. He was not playing, but claimed to be composing "under the direction of the creator". He disappeared from GA and turned up in Seattle. It has been a downhill slide since then, but he is warm and fed. Mr. Thompson has some emotional problems and should be left in peace.

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Chuck, it feels great to see you back posting after you left the AMG board!

I'd be the last to disturb Lucky Thompson's peace, I love his music way too much and I think I can understand just enough of his frustrations to figure out that he could not bear it any longer, not with the love for the music he always showed. I wish him a peaceful life whereever he is, hope he is cared for and will cherish his music forever.

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Lucky is one of the very few jazzers whose every piece of work I will try to collect. Unlike Jim I find the Groove Merchants the slightest of his latter work. This may be in part the haphazard CD releases I have one "Lucky Thompson" on LRC and the other "Yesterdays Child " on Musidisc. They share a number of tracks and lack even the most basic recodring information such as date or location etc. None the les worth hearing if you a Thompson nut like me. Looking forwar already to the "promised" MPS session later this year.

There are three discs in the Jazz in Paris collection including the one with Sammy Price. All excellent.

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I have a handful of Lucky's recordings, I haven't found a bad one yet!

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Unlike Jim I find the Groove Merchants the slightest of his latter work. This may be in part the haphazard CD releases I have one "Lucky Thompson" on LRC and the other "Yesterdays Child " on Musidisc. They share a number of tracks and lack even the most basic recodring information such as date or location etc. None the les worth hearing if you a Thompson nut like me.

Yeah, the stuff seems to not have been handled well at all on CD. I'm lucky to have GOODBYE YESTERDAY & I OFFER YOU on Groove Merchant LPs. No dates or location, but the engineer for both was Malcolm Addey, if that provides a clue. Poetry & liner notes by Lucky in both cases. If you need personnel and tune listings, I can post those within (roughly) the next 24 hours, ok? Same w/the poetry & liners.

I just dig the vibe on these. There's a stillness, a quiet, a peacefullness to them that I really dig. A totally personal reaction, no doubt.

Was the COOK COUNTY stuff actually recorded live in toto? I SWEAR I hear another electric piano echoing waaaaay back in the background, which leads me to believe that overdubbing was done to correct for a live recording error.

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I recently listened to Lucky's Body & Soul (Nessa n-13) and it's an even better record than I remembered. I don't know if it's currently in print - Chuck Nessa no longer has the reissue rights - but grab a copy if you come across it. It's a very fine record.

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You can get it as "Soul's Nite Out" on the Spanish Ensayo label. They recorded it, and it shows up from time to time online. I got my cd from Berkshire Record Outlet. Beware, I reversed the sides for better programming.

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Asuperb Lucky Thompson disc that has not been mentioned is the Fresh Sounds CD reissue 'Lucky Meets Tommy' which includes the two Tivoli albums that were issued under Lucky Thompson's name with Tommy Flanagan on piano.

The MPS release 'A Lucky Songbook' needs to be reissued also.

Another rare and good session.

Yes, there is no bad Lucky Thompson session.

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As promised:

GOODBYE YESTERDAY - Groove Merchant GM 508

Side One -

Home Come'n

Tea Time

Lazy Day

Soul Lullaby

Side Two -

Then Soul Walked In

Fillet Of Soul

Back To The World

All tunes by L.T.

Thompson, Cedar Walton, Larry Ridley, Billy Higgins

Liner Notes:

I welcome the privilage to extend a most profound "Thank You" to all who shared this occasion...and must also include a special thanks for their spiritual depth, confidence,, and their professional talents, which were indeed a prime factor in making "Goodbye Yesterday" very much a reality today!

May God's blessings, Good Health and Happiness forever be their companion for which, in my humble opinion, represents the only real success!

Liner poem:

There were numerous

Occasions,

When "Yesterday"

Came too soon,

But then was willing

To step aside

Gracefully,

Out of complete

Understanding

And Respect

For The NEcessities

Of Today,

And possibly Tomorrow."

I OFFER YOU - Groove Merchant GM 517

Side One -

Munsoon

Sun Out

Yesterday's Child

Aliyah

Side Two -

The Moment Of Truth (T.Satterwhite & F.Scott)

Back Home From Yesterday

Cherokee (R. Noble)

Tunes by L.T. unless noted

Thompson, Walton, Sam Jones, Louis Hayes

Main Liner Poem-

"I OFFER YOU"

From the first to my last day ,

Every good I can be ,

And a Soul Too lead the way ,

"I OFFER YOU"

That which life holds so dear ,

Come troubles and despair ,

Warmth and passion shall be near ,

"I OFFER YOU"

All that Spring cannot tell ,

Nor could Autumn write about ,

What my heart knows so well ,

"I OFFER YOU"

More depth than the Sea has known ,

And height that Mountains could not say ,

Have ever been their own ,

"I OFFER YOU"

Goodwill untill the end ,

The Pure which stands forever more ,

Perhaps some wisdom now and then ,

"I OFFER YOU"

All I am and could ever be ,

And Love beyond eternity ,

Should there be more ,

"I OFFER YOU"

Second liner poem -

So Grateful and Happy ,

Too know ,

How much of nothing ,

I am ,

And though must travel ,

By myself ,

But never alone ,

(Spelling, capitalization, and spaces before commas as on album)

Seems to be a concept working in the song titles and the poems...

Edited by JSngry

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The humility and "spirituality" of these writings contrast sharply with the portraits of Lucky in the Central Avenue days as a vain, cutthroat, self-promoting SOB, don't they?

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Know what you mean. The spoken intro on "Lord Lord..." (Candid) gives me an impression of vunerable figure of great spirituality as you say at odds with a man reported to put other players down etc.

I am not sure what it is about LT that makes his playing so attractive to my ears but I never tire of it in the way I do of some others such as Mobley, Getz, Golson etc

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The way he ended up, I'm tempted to say that, like so many, he used his music to "be" the kind of person that his inner demons wouldn't allow him to be in real life, to conquer them, if only momentarily. But maybe that's just a "romantic notion" type thing...

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