Ari Brown, Earma Thompson And John Brumbach – Madam Queen
1. Next Time You See Me - 5:51 2. Madam Queen - 9:30 3. The Way You Look Tonight - 7:22 4. Ceora - 6:48 5. In a Sentimental Mood - 10:01 6. Sunny - 8:53 7. Trouble in the Day Room - 9:03
Ari Brown / John Brumbach (tenor saxophone) , Earma Thompson (piano) , Yosef Ben Israel (bass) , William ‘Bugs’ Cochran (drums)
1. DownBeat -Alain Drouot – July 2008
In her 80s, pianist Earma Thompson has remained in Chicago and never got the exposure she deserved. This is only her second recording as a leader, and she epitomizes the Chicago jazz scene – a relaxed feel devoid of any tension permeates the spirited session.
Thompson reminds us that jazz can be soulful entertainment without compromising quality. Surrounded by a crew of old and trusted friends, the pianist revisits some bop and hard-bop staples as well as an original by saxophonist John Brumbach that fits right in. Madam Queen pays tribute to Thompson's generosity, as she leaves the spotlight to tenor saxophonists Ari Brown and Brumbach. The two play with a rare honesty, dedication and soulfulness. Brown features his beautiful tone in a straightahead setting. In contrast, Brumbach sounds more gruff.
The pianist is not interested in virtuosic displays and focuses on the melody, which she peppers with witty lines and decorous ornaments. Bassist Yosef Ben Israel and drummer William “Bugs” Cochran have enough experience to understand that their role is to support the music without standing in the way. As a result, Thompson has produced a solid set that never gets dull and qualifies as serious foot-tapping and head-bobbing fun.
2. AllMusic - Scott Yanow
To honor the veteran if greatly underrated Chicago pianist Earma Thompson, tenor saxophonists Ari Brown and John Brumbach joined her in a quintet for a set of standards and basic originals. While Brumbach and especially Brown are best known for playing in more adventurous settings, they sound very much at home on this hard-swinging date, recalling such Chicago tenors as Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin. Brumbach takes "Ceora" as his feature while Brown swings on a medium-tempo version of "In a Sentimental Mood." Otherwise, the two tenors are on each number, challenging each other and inspiring Thompson. With fine support supplied by bassist Yosef Ben Israel and drummer William "Bugs" Cochran, this is a classic hard bop set; highly recommended.
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