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The Mystagogue

Ben Thomas

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Album Review

On his sophomore album as a group leader, Ben Thomas uses a solid quartet format with an additional rotating sax or clarinet. On Mystagogue, the vibist makes good on the promise of the title — he introduces new listeners into the religious rites of jazz, showing the relics and holding the ceremonies. In a less metaphorical sense, Thomas and his band power their way through a fine mix of post-bop, hard bop, and modern jazz, all Thomas originals. The interplay between musicians is excellent here, with Thomas and pianist Laura Caviani exchanging lengthy, virtuosic solos (listen for hints of Art Tatum in Caviani) and occasionally comping one another, Clipper Anderson providing a nice walking bass, and drummer John Bishop alternately tapping out a quiet cadence or crashing the cymbals to keep the overall volume up. The rotating horns play well in front of the band, mingling with the sound nicely. The songs blend well into one another, with the whole standing out more than the parts. This one is definitely worth a listen for a contemporary take on the vibes that's still influenced by the various masters.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Vibraphonist Ben Thomas is a Seattle-based solo recording artist, as well as an artist/clinician for the Ludwig/Musser company (in addition to the vibraphone, Thomas is an established drummer and percussionist). After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and a Master of Music from the University of Michigan, Thomas received a grant for "music composition" from the Seattle Arts Commission. Thomas has issued the solo albums The Madman's Difference (1998) and The Mystagogue (2000), in...
Full Bio
The Mystagogue, Ben Thomas
View In iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 2000

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