Ed Bickert / Don Thompson

At the Garden Party

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The first seven selections on this CD reissue a 1978 duet concert featuring the quiet guitarist Ed Bickert and bassist Don Thompson. A little reminiscent of a famous Jim Hall/Ron Carter collaboration, the music alternates introspective ballads with a couple romps, including a brisk "What Is This Thing Called Love." Bickert's playing is both swinging and sophisticated, often utilizing reharmonized chords, while Thompson functions as an equal partner. The final four selections are from a previously unreleased 1976 studio set with drummer Terry Clarke making the group a quintet. For unknown reasons this session was never completed, but the music is on the same high level as the live duet performance. In fact, the subtle drumming makes it easier for the group to swing harder, with Hoagy Carmichael's "One Morning in May" being a highlight. Recommended.

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