Sir Charles Thompson

Robbins' Nest: Live at the Jazz Showcase

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Sir Charles Thompson recorded his most essential work in the 1940s, but the Count Basie-influenced pianist was still quite capable of excellence when the 21st century rolled around. Recorded live at Chicago's Jazz Showcase in August 2000, this CD finds an 82-year-old Thompson continuing to play with plenty of warmth and enthusiasm. Very few surprises occur; from the opener "Robbins' Nest" (Thompson's most famous composition) to Coleman Hawkins' "Stuffy" and overdone standards like "Easy Living," "'S Wonderful," and "Body and Soul," the improviser tends to play it safe in his choice of material and provides the type of bop/swing set he could have performed 50 or 55 years earlier. But Thompson is still a joy to listen to, and his chops have obviously held up nicely over the years. Jazz Showcase owner Joe Segal chose all of the Chicago-based musicians who accompany Sir Charles; most of the songs find him leading a trio that includes Ed de Haas on bass and Charles Braugham on drums, although five selections also employ reedman Eric Schneider. Robbins' Nest: Live at the Jazz Showcase falls short of essential, but it's a pleasing CD that Thompson's diehard fans will appreciate.

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