Live at Tula's
McVouty Records - MCVCD109
Live at Tula's CD cover
$15.00 (FREE S&H)
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Jay Thomas (trumpet, flugelhorn & tenor sax); John Hansen (piano); Chuck Bergeron (bass); Jon Wikan (drums)
Recorded live at Tula's Jazz Club (Seattle, WA)
"Jay plays with so Much romanticism, a kind of joy.... and he just swings out this most satisfying, live recording by one of our top resident musicians."
Chris Lunn, Victory Music Review . . . more ›
"His resourceful, jauntily swing and exciting fervor inbues all eight tunes... Thomas plays with blazing intensity, depth and imagination."
Dr. Herb Wong, IAJE Jazz Perspective . . . more ›
"Joy and vibrancy mark the playing of trumpet and flugelhorn player Thomas and he's in good form for this quartet date."
Lois Moody, Hofacres' Jazz News . . . more ›
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"Live at Tula's" REVIEWS
By Chris Lunn, Victory Music Review
Thomas is a top lyrical, highly romantic interpreter in modern jazz on trumpet, flugelhorn and tenor sax. These sides were recorded live at Tula's in Seattle. Thomas opens on horn with Lee Morgan's "Boy What A Night" with a warm, soft tone, and note structure that reminds one of the Chet Baker-Russ Freeman days. This long piece gives room for John Hansen, another lyrical player and great worker of space between notes to explore his piano. Tempos change and build with Jon Wikan on drums plus Chuck Bergeron on bass who works both Seattle and New York jazz scenes. "But Not For Me" starts out as a light joyous dash, with quiet lyrical trumpet head, and builds with tight notes and bursts over the upbeat rhythm. "Sophisticated Lady" is taken in as a very slow ballad with lush tenor squeezing beauty from each line and Hansen's solo is wonderful in chord and space work. "Wendy" is a Paul Desmond composition that gets 10 ½ minutes exploration, beginning with trumpet flowing in a light lilt. Bergeron's bass voice rumbles and drives a lovely solo on Eddie Harris's "7/4 blues" with a stabbing horn and piano moving the head and solos. "Wee Dot" is a swinging JJ Johnson tune with the trumpet in clean simple angular lines, warm clusters, with good attention to space and light fiery moods. Jay plays with so much romanticism, a kind of light joy and he chooses songs like "Swonderful" taken in a quiet mid tempo swing that Jay just talks, with loving curls around. "Soon" just swings out this most satisfying, live recording by one of our top resident musicians.
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By Dr. Herb Wong, IAJE Jazz Perspective - September 1999
Anyone familiar with Jay Thomas' trumpet and saxophone artistry is aware of his long stretch of dominating excellence in the Northwest United States. Attesting to his engaging horn work is this "live" date at Tula's, a Seattle, Washington club. His resourceful, jauntily swing and exciting fervor imbues all eight tunes which include three from Gershwin's song pool and one each from Duke Ellington, Lee Morgan, Eddie Harris, Paul Desmond and J.J. Johnson, and range idiomatically from swing and bebop to some departures beyond. We are rewarded with an uncompromising Jay Thomas who plays trumpet, flugelhorn and tenor sax on the date and is joined by a persuasive rhythm section of John Hansen, Chuck Bergeron and Jon Wikan who shine and mesh smoothly with Thomas. The literature he has selected to play reflects his firm grab on the history of the music. Aside from the connective threads of the song material, Thomas plays with blazing intensity, depth and imagination.
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By Lois Moody, Hofacres' Jazz News
Joy and vibrancy mark the playing of trumpet and flugelhorn player Thomas and he's in good form for this quartet date in a Seattle jazz club. Rounding out the group are John Hansen (p), Chuck Bergeron (b), and Jon Wikan (d), all but Bergeron being frequent Thomas colleagues over the past decade.
The eclectic material reveals the wide-ranging tastes and influences of Thomas, so the best of many traditions can be sampled. The 8 track program has three Gershwin classics (But Not For Me, 'Swonderful and Soon) Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Lady (with Thomas switching to tenor sax to capture the sensuous melancholy of the piece), a breezy Boy What a Night (Lee Morgan) Paul Desmond's Wendy, J.J. Johnson's boppish Wee Dot and the catchy 7/4 Blues by jazz veteran Eddie Harris. Solid Choices and they suit the group well.
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By Robert Spencer, Cadence Magazine - February 1999
A sax/brass double is exceedingly tricky, as the cup and the reed require such different approaches. Joe McPhee manages this double superbly; Ornette Coleman is notorious for it. And here comes Jay Thomas, who demonstrated a splendid feel for Latin Jazz with the group Sonando. Here he shows off his letter-perfect ability in the straight-ahead jazz preferred by most jazz clubs these days. Thomas plays brass mostly, sounding very much like Lee Morgan on Morgan's "Boy What a Night" and again, but less so, on Eddie Harris' "7/4 Blues". On other tracks he sounds more subdued than Morgan, although still lively: most of these numbers are marched through briskly, even Gershwin's "Swonderful". Switching to tenor sax for "Sophisticated Lady" Thomas doesn't attempt anything spectacular but plays more than competently, with a buttery tone reminiscent of Zoot and Al. John Hansen is a Bill Evans/Red Garland type: he solos with a clear sense of continuity and design. Wikan and Bergeron are noble souls who provide a firm foundation without intrusive pyrotechnics. If I had been at Tula's on the two nights of this recording I would have found a thoroughly skillful band, not interested in taking chances or staking out new artistic territory, but only in doing their job of entertaining, and doing it well.