Lucky Thompson

Test Pilot

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Tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson recorded many songs in the mid-to-late '40s, particularly during the 1945-47 period when he was based in Los Angeles. This out-of-print European LP is filled with rarities; only three titles with Dinah Washington have been reissued much. Otherwise Thompson is heard in an unusual quartet (also including violinist Stuff Smith, pianist Erroll Garner and drummer George Wettling) playing the two part "Test Pilot," backing singer Estelle Edson, on a practically unknown session led by rhythm guitarist Freddie Green (and featuring the young singer Sylvia Syms), jamming in Fletcher Henderson's final group (in 1950) and heading two forgotten sessions of his own. Originally released on such labels as Selmer, Black & White, Duke, Apollo (the Dinah Washington sides), Excelsior, Star Dust and Triumph, the music (which fills in the transition between swing and bop) is as valuable as it is obscure.

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