JJ 03/71: Barbara Thompson Revelation at 100 Club

Fifty years ago, Barry McRae heard a confident musician leading music that might have been derivative but was musicianly and demanding. First published in Jazz Journal March 1971

Barbara Thompson in 1969

February visitors at the 100 Club were the Barbara Thompson Revelation. Perhaps due to the presence of dep Henry Lowther, the group inhabited the stylistic house built by the Miles Davis Quintet, of Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams vintage.

The arrangements were imaginative and, despite obvious teething troubles in the unison passages, were well delivered. Lowther was in his usual Davis/Clark Terry bag, his tone as beautiful as ever and his solos ordered and relaxed. One well-used des­cending run appeared too often but otherwise he played inventively.

Barbara Thompson is a good player on tenor, full toned and playing with more swing than in her early days. Her flute still retains some of the stiffness that seems to blight the work of many of its practitioners but she is now a very confident musician.

Mike Pyne’s electric piano occupies the nebulous area between guitar and piano lines and as such leaves something to be desired. The Revelation may be derivative but they offer musicianly readings of a style that is always demanding.

Sharing the programme were the Scott/Hutchinson Quintet. New to me, the group features Jeff Scott (tenor), Alan Leggatt (flugel) and Matthew Hutchinson (piano), three promis­ing young musicians. As yet the rhythm section is somewhat stolid and drummer Neal Rodgers has a tendency to rush tempos. They should, however, become a useful addition to the 100 Club roster of groups.