Ross Tompkins

Lost in the Stars

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Carl Jefferson was an unusual record label owner. Much like Norman Granz, he seemed to gravitate toward recording artists he admired, while not worrying whether a particular album might sell enough copies to break even. Ross Tompkins, though at the time of this recording was serving as the band pianist on The Tonight Show, was hardly a huge name in the world of jazz, though he was respected by his colleagues. This LP was actually his second for the label, with Ray Brown and Jake Hanna serving as his talented rhythm section. The studio session includes six thoughtfully arranged standards, with the lyrical solo interpretation of "I've Got a Crush on You," and an upbeat treatment of "Indian Summer" especially standing out. Tompkins also ventures into the vast Duke Ellington songbook, with Brown and Hanna laying down a swinging groove for the leader in a strutting take of "What Am I Here For," and a sensitive rendition of Billy Strayhorn's bittersweet "Lush Life." Although this recommended album was never reissued on CD by Concord, it has since been reissued in that format in Japan.

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