Thompson: Everybody Oughta Have One
Drummer Lucky Thompson is musical director of Natalie’s
Lounge, at 40th and Market, site of a fabled jam session on
Saturday evenings from 5p.m. to 8 p.m.
This quintet set with Christian McBride’s father,
Lee Smith, on bass, Umar Raheem on saxophone, Jeff Knoettner
on piano, and Anthony “Tony” Smith on trumpet
is a hard-driving affair that upholds the Natalie’s
tradition while branching out at times in a smooth direction.
The recording quality and some of the arrangements are less
than stellar. But the gaps are made up for by an unrelenting
ardor. Raheem and Knoettner ride Thompson’s ramrod beat
on “Rush Hour” to astounding effect. “The
Prowler” sounds like a slammin’ old Lee Morgan
tune, and “Isis” does some honest kicking.
Occasionally, the set gets overly warm and fuzzy. “Crystal”
sounds like smooth jazz meeting the theme from Taxi –
not a ride I wanted to take. “Lydia” exudes a
numbing, dentist-office vibe that the players work hard to
overcome. At its best, this is a show-no-quarter kind of set,
raw but winning.
Karl Stark, Entertainment Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer,
Sunday, August 1, 2004, page H10.