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Burnett Thompson: Creation: A Jazz Suite

Duke (who pulled it off) would admire this ambitious, even brave, attempt to tell a story-nothing less than the opening book of Genesis-in the idiom of jazz. Washington-based pianist Burnett Thompson’s brilliant composition ranges from 12-tone improvisation (and the dissonance of chaos), to traditional blues, soliloquy for bass and drums, “Dixieland fantasy,” a Latin dance and piano “flashes” which evoke the coming of Light. The tone-poem ends with a gospel ballad for trumpet, bass and piano. This piece is technically challenging to the players [Joseph Cunliffe, flute and alto flute; Craig Frederich, trumpet and fluegelhorn; Chris Vadala, soprano, alto and tenor saxes; Ephriam Wolfolk, bass; Rod Youngs, percussion; Thompson, piano]. And it is conceptually challenging to listeners. But give it a little time…and it will speak to you, for example, of “God’s Beautiful Garden.”

Originally Published