Monday, December 1, 2008

Michael Blake: The World Awakes - A Tribute to Lucky Thompson (2006)

Here's a loving and imaginative tribute to one of the music's best unsung players, as well as, ironically, one of the best-known casualties of the rapacious music business. Google "Lucky Thompson" and you'll find plenty about all of that, but there's little melodrama to be heard in any of Thompson's recordings. That's not to say his music was ever bereft of emotion; his playing remained joyous and heartfelt throughout a difficult career.
Blake's accomplishment here is to direct our attention to Thompson the composer. The tunes are harmonically dense and surprising, in the way of other composers who came of age after the first wave of bop, yet have plenty of bop's urgency. Thompson is credited with marrying bop's complexity with the sumptuous tone of predecessors like Hawkins and Webster, and you'll recognize a lot of history in these songs as well as in Blake's tone. But in truth, Thompson, the composer and player, was never anything less than his own man.
As for Blake, he's a terrific player and composer himself, and the Danish rhythm section plays with admirable finesse and frequent fire. It goes to show how little has changed that Blake was unable to record his working Thompson repertory band in this country, but had to go to Europe to do so.
This is newer release than I'm fully comfortable posting here, so you're now duty-bound to pursue more Michael Blake recordings and pay for 'em when you find them. "Elevated" is another particularly good one to seek out.

Michael Blake (tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet)
Soren Kjaergaard (keys)
Jonas Westergaard (bass)
Kresten Osgood (drums)
Peter Fuglsang (bass clarinet, clarinet)
Kasper Tranberg (trumpet)
Lars Bjornkjaer (violin)
Henrik Dam Thomsen (cello)
Teddy Kumpel (guitar)
Rob Jost (flugelhorn)

  1. Lucky Charms
  2. Reminiscent
  3. The World Awakes
  4. Little Tenderfoot
  5. Scratch
  6. Mumba Neua
  7. To You Dear One
  8. Little Tenderfoot (reprise)
  9. Single Petal Of A Rose

November 8th and 9th, 2006, Copenhagen.


Festoonic said...

il angelo said...

Excellent as always Festoonic. Very interested in this one, a great idea of Mr Blake, Mr Thompson deserves many heartfelt tributes. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Many thanks for the archive so far.

jake said...

I agree - this is a great concept for an album. Thanks for the up.

il angelo said...

Very good arrangements, by the way. I keep coming back to this album. thanks again

Anonymous said...

Illuminating - it certainly grows on you - each time I listen I discover something new. Excellent. Many thanks indeed


seliM said...

hi Festoonic,
thanks for this album
would it be possible to post this one in lossless?
thanks in advance