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Album Review

With the passing of the last of the original stride piano masters during the 1970s and 1980s, Butch Thompson became one of the leading practitioners of the style. Thompson's stride interpretations of Christmas carols are rather refreshing, as he plays 17 holiday carols and gives them a new lease on life from the often mundane versions heard on most releases (whether jazz or any other form of music). "Silent Night" is bluesy, while "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is played straight up at first before he launches into a lively romp. "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" is more subtle with some beautiful improvising. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" sounds like it could have been played by Fats Waller; all that is missing are the late pianist's likely wisecracks. "Angels From the Realms of Glory" doesn't make it onto many Christmas releases, but Thompson's sensitive interpretation of this pretty hymn should turn some heads. As are all of Butch Thompson's releases for Daring, this CD is also highly recommended.


Born: 28 November 1943 in Marine, MN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the top pre-bop pianists to be active during the past 30 years, Butch Thompson's piano playing stretches from Jelly Roll Morton and James P. Johnson to swing; he is also an excellent (if occasional) New Orleans-style clarinetist. In 1962, he joined the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band in Minneapolis, an association that lasted over 20 years. Thompson has led his own trio since the mid-'60s, and during 1974-1986 he appeared regularly on Garrison Keillor's very popular...
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Yulestride, Butch Thompson
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