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Jay Thomas and Wataru Hamasaki with Geoffrey Keezer Trio: Accidentally Yours

Jay Thomas plays trumpet, flugelhorn and a small arsenal of reed instruments. He is so good on tenor sax that a few years ago when the late Bill Perkins had to bow out of a Bud Shank record date, Thomas got the call. I once wrote that his artistry on trumpet exceeded that of many better-known players. Nothing on this CD changes my mind. Accidentally Yours features two other extraordinary musicians, the former Ray Brown pianist Geoffrey Keezer and Wataru Hamasaki, a newly minted Japanese medical doctor who operates a tenor saxophone.

In his photographs, Hamasaki looks like a freshly scrubbed teenager. With the perfect support of Keezer, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer John Wikan, Hamasaki’s expressiveness and tonal dynamics on his ballad “Time Out of Time” exemplify the qualities that make him a young tenor to keep your ears on. Thomas’ “Kinnickinick” is one of the few jazz tunes reflecting the influence of American Indian music. The date has undertones, and in the case of Keezer’s “Accidentally Yours,” overtones of the Jazz Messengers. Keezer’s playing is superb throughout. Thomas is one of the finest improvising musicians alive, as he demonstrates here on trumpet, flugelhorn and soprano saxophone.

Originally Published