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Trio East: Stop-Start

A former member of the Count Basie Orchestra and current drumming instructor at the Eastman School of Music, Rich Thompson leads an unconventional pianoless trio of drums, trumpet (Clay Jenkins) and bass (Jeff Campbell) called Trio East on Stop-Start (Sons of Sound). Together they tackle an ambitious program of John Coltrane (“Up Against the Wall,” “26-2”), Ornette Coleman (“Happy House”), Mal Waldron (“Soul Eyes”), Dizzy Gillespie (“Con Alma”) and Lee Morgan (“Stop-Start”) tunes with confidence and verve.

Trumpeter Jenkins, also an Eastman instructor, contributes three originals: the open-ended “Tray-Bo,” the bristling romp “In Fine Line” and the dramatic “Late Bloomer,” which features Thompson exploring a myriad of sounds on his kit. The drummer offers a subtle, coloristic approach on “Con Alma” while his spotlight on “Happy House” is a tour de force of brushwork. Elsewhere, his loose, interactive playing on the midtempo blues “Up Against the Wall,” the surging “26-2” and the swinging title track reveals a masterful touch.

Originally Published