Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ed Thigpen

Ed Thigpen (1930-2010)
You can find my latest review, of drummer Ed Thigpen's record, "You And The Night And The Music," over at nycjazzrecord.com.  There's also a documentary DVD that accompanies the set called "Ed Thigpen: Master of Time, Rhythm and Taste."  Thigpen, who died almost two years ago at 79, recorded this album with his trio in 2002, in Copenhagen, where he had lived since 1972.

Ed Thigpen played drums in the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1959 to 1965.  That group was one of the first combos I came across when I started seriously listening to jazz in high school.  I found Peterson's soloing immaculate, so much so that I began to expect that kind of virtuosic playing from the other pianists I was listening to.  Peterson's trio was so clean, so concise, I suggest in the review, that eventually, the consistency of those qualities can become a final weakness. 

I also suggest in the review that on this album, in this trio--with pianist Carsten Dahl and bassist Jesper Bodilsen--a looser, older Thigpen seems to be featuring his drums as another melodic instrument.  In the video below, of a segment from the 1950s television show "The Subject is Jazz," Thigpen talks about getting new sounds out of his instrument:

"I was looking for a way in which to express myself, not only rhythmically, but musically," he says.  "So I had to find tones, the sound of a tone quality, so I found that I knew I could do this on the drums."

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