Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP Ed Thigpen

The jazz world lost one of its preeminent percussionists a couple of weeks ago. With the passing of Ed Thigpen, another bridge to the golden era of 1950's jazz combos has vanished. Ed was a legendary player whose innovations and openness to explore new modes of percussion during the 1950s spearheaded the new approaches that burst onto the scene in avant garde jazz circles after 1960. Best known for anchoring the Oscar Peterson Trio, much of Thigpen's work was rooted in California, making an impact in Los Angeles jazz circles during the 1950's. He later recording with Billy Taylor and the Teddy Edwards Quintet before expatriating to the more appreciative city of Copenhagen. This recording of Titoro with the Billy Taylor Trio is unique in that Ed discusses some of the multiple influences he appropriated to forge his unique style and use of rhythm, brushes, cymbals and a panoply of bongo based techniques. Rest in peace Ed, and thanks for so much incredible work.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Rockabilly Book

Rockabilly fanatics will surely applaud the recent publication of a groundbreaking new book devoted to many iconic players and some of the few original innovators still alive today. Rockabilly aficionado Shereee Homer's "Catch That Rockabilly Fever" is a meticulously documented study of rockbilly's storied players and their inimitable music. Making use of extensive interviews with such living legends as Big Al Downing, Wanda Jackson, Hayden Thompson, Joe Clay, Sonny Burgess and many more, Sheree's book brings long overdue recognition to many whose pioneering recordings helped define rockabilly as a genre. The reviews for Sheree's effort have been outstanding. Her effort is a very timely addition to recent investigations into this unique musical form whose infectious rhythms have again swept the planet with a force not felt since the 1950' s. I'm waiting for my copy to arrive as I write.