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Lady First

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Album Review

Listening to keyboardist Bob Thompson's Lady First is a bit like experiencing a movie with great elements - solid acting, cinematography, direction -but whose story only rarely connects emotionally. His basic approach - which comes across most effectively on the lyrical, acoustic trio piece "The Present" - is eloquent yet with frequent percussive bursts, very much in line with Joe Sample's easy blend of light funk and deeper, improvisational ideas. Thompson is equally adept at both the softly-lit "dinner jazz" and more throbbing jams like "Brother's Keeper." He is also adventurous as a producer, slyly enhancing "First Born" with a small string quartet and aiming for a Japanese flavor with a synth-koto melody on "Delilah." What's lacking? Great, instantly memorable melodies that stick - not coincidentally, the mark of a smooth jazz classic. Only "The Present" and the lush, new agey closing title track really seduce us. A lot of folks can play as well as Sample and David Benoit. But as Thompson shows us, few can write that effectively.


Born: 24 August 1924 in San Jose, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

The music of West Virginia pianist Bob Thompson, active as a leader or sideman since the 1970s, ranges from electric and acoustic in a mostly dance-funk style to excellent modal jazz à la McCoy Tyner. In the late '80s Thompson also became house pianist for the Mountain Stage radio program, produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and widely distributed by National Public Radio. He recorded a number of albums for the Atlanta-based Ichiban label during the 1990s and into the 2000s while also establishing...
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Lady First, Bob Thompson
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