Joe Thomas

Blowin' in from K.C.

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In the early '50s, tenor saxophonist Joe Thomas (most famous for playing with Jimmy Lunceford) led a flexible septet that performed early R&B, swing, and fairly modern jazz. Thirty years later, using Don Sickler's transcriptions, Thomas had a reunion with three of his surviving sidemen (trumpeter Johnny Grimes, trombonist Dicky Harris, and bassist George Duvivier), and used pianist Jay McShann, baritonist Haywood Henry, and either Oliver Jackson or Jackie Williams on drums to fill in for the no longer active (and, in some cases, deceased) players. There are several exciting selections on this date, including "Raw Meat," "Tearing Hall," the Kenton-influenced "Star Mist," "Jumpin' Joe," and "Backstage at the Apollo." Thomas sings "If I Could Be with You." This very rewarding Uptown LP (Joe Thomas' last recording) is a near-classic.