Lucky Thompson and His Octet – In Paris 1960 – Modern Jazz At Club Saint-Germain & The Blue Note


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Lucky Thompson was still just 35 when these TV broadcasts heard on this CD were recorded in 1960. Thompson is not only heard on tenor but on soprano-sax, an instrument that Lucky had taken up the previous year. The first eight titles were performed at the Club Saint-Germain on May 28, and on five of the eight numbers, Thompson leads an eight-piece orchestra comprised of top French jazzmen (other than expatriates Nat Peck and Kenny Clarke). Pianist Martial Solal (an original even then), and bassist Pierre Michelot, became major attractions.
The music from the Blue Note, which was recorded three months earlier on February 13, has Thompson leading an octet that again includes Jo Hrasko and Kenny Clarke but also features such Americans as trumpeter Lenny Johnson, the great trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, baritonist Sahib Shihab, and bassist Buddy Catlett. Thompson’s wife, Thelma Thompson, takes effective vocals on two songs apiece with each version of the Octet, showing that she also deserves to be remembered.
It is a pity that both of the Lucky Thompson octets did not last longer but quite fortunate that they have been saved for posterity due to their appearances on the TV.
The last two performances at the Blue Note, are also historically significant as Lucky Thompson leads a quartet and a quintet featuring two different pianists who certainly made their mark on jazz history. Alice Coltrane (then known by her maiden name of Alice McLeod), and Bud Powell, the founder of bebop piano, who had settled in France in 1959 and was enjoying a renaissance, performing regularly with Michelot and Clarke as “The Three Bosses.”

Track Listing:
1. Check Out Time - 5:47   2. Sim Copans introduces the musicians - 0:33   3. You Move, You Lose - 2:39   4. Sim Copans introduces Thelma Thompson - 0:09   5. While You Are Gone - 3:40   6. Nothin’ But the Soul - 4:06   7. One Last Goodbye - 3:58   8. Yesterday’s Bottle - 4:28   9. Glamour Game - 5:30   10. Down the Stretch [Incomplete] - 1:33   11. Fanfare - 4:08   12. Thin Ice - 3:35   13. Deep Passion - 3:40   14. The World Awakes - 4:16   15. Yesterdays - 3:43   16. Home Free - 3:25   17. Bitter Sweet - 3:32   18. Sim Copans introduces the musicians - 0:30   19. Taking Care of Business - 4:24   20. Yardbird Step - 2:16   21. Fanfare [Incomplete] 2:09   22. Lover Man - 5:08   23. Anthropology [Incomplete] - 5:24


Modern Jazz At The Club Saint-Germain (May 28, 1960)
Tracks #1,5,6,8 & 10: Lucky Thompson and His Octet
Christian Bellest (trumpet) , Nat Peck (trombone) , Jo Hrasko (alto sax) , Lucky Thompson (tenor & soprano sax on 8) , William Boucaya (baritone sax) , Martial Solal (piano) , Pierre Michelot (bass) , Kenny Clarke (drums) , Thelma Thompson (vocals on 5,8)

Lucky Thompson Trio (#3), Quartet (#7) & Quintet (#9)
Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) , Martial Solal (piano on 7,9) , Pierre Michelot (bass) , Kenny Clarke (drums) , Nat Peck (trombone on 9)

Modern Jazz At The Blue Note (February 13, 1960)
Tracks #11,13-17,20 & 21: Lucky Thompson and His Octet 
Lenny Johnson (trumpet) , Jimmy Cleveland (trombone) , Jo Hrasko (alto sax) , Lucky Thompson (tenor & soprano sax on 14 & 15) , Marcel Hrasko (tenor & baritone sax) , Sahib Shihab (baritone sax) , Buddy Catlett (bass) , Kenny Clarke (drums) , Thelma Thompson (vocals on13,17).

Tracks #12: Lucky Thompson Trio & Quartet (#19)
Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) , Buddy Catlett (bass) , Kenny Clarke (drums) , Jimmy Cleveland (trombone on 19).

Modern Jazz At The Blue Note (January 1, 1960)

Tracks #22: Lucky Thompson Quartet
Lucky Thompson (soprano sax) , Alice McLeod (aka Alice Coltrane) (piano) , Pierre Michelot (bass) , Kenny Clarke (drums)

Tracks #23: Lucky Thompson Quintet
Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) , Jimmy Gourley (guitar) , Bud Powell (piano) , Pierre Michelot (bass) , Kenny Clarke (drums)


1. - George W. Harris - January 15, 2018
"Listening to sounds from the past helps put the present jazz scene in proper perspective. Last year a ton of historical material by the overlooked Lucky Thompson finally saw the light of day,and this collection of Parisian gigs from 1960 feature the hard swinging saxist in some hip settings, ranging from trio to octet.
A rhythm team of Kenny Clarke/dr, Pierre Michelot/b and Martial Solal/p provide the foundation for finger snapping “Check Out Time” and “Nothin’ But the Soul with added husky vocals by Thelma Thompson on “While You Are Gone” and a bluesy “Yesterday’s Bottle.” A gig including the horns of Lenny Johnson/tp, Jimmy Cleveland/tb, Jo Hrasko/as, Marcel Hrasko and Thompson have the team cruising like a B8 on “Bitter Sweet,” “Home Free” and a richly harmonized “Yesterdays” with Thompson switching to soprano on the latter, while he sounds exquisite with a pre married to Coltrane Alice McLeod/p, Pierre Michelot/b and Clarke/dr on a wondrous “Lover Man.” You can never get enough of this guy; each find gets better. "

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