René Thomas was one of Europe's top jazz guitarists of the 1950s. Influenced by Jimmy Raney and cool jazz in general, Thomas sounded as if he were from Los Angeles rather than Belgium. He was at his most active on record during 1954-1956, the period covered in this fine retrospective. Thomas is heard on highlights from four record dates with three quintets that he led and a sextet headed by pianist Henri Renaud. When Thomas is teamed in unison with a tenor player, particularly Serge "Bib" Monville on the final seven numbers, it is very reminiscent of the Stan Getz-Jimmy Raney group of a few years earlier. However, René Thomas had a lot of his own to offer and it is a mystery why he never became better known after he moved to Canada in 1956. Guitaristic features René Thomas at his best.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow