Green with Passion
Green With Passion by Jon Thomas and Friends 'Improvisation expect a lot of improvisation '... sums up what Jon Thomas feels about this group and 'Green With Passion' their second recording. ' Our voice is clearly developing in this recording. I am not sure we know exactly what that voice is but it is our sound. The journey is probably more important than the final destination. In fact the journey in many ways determines the destination. Green With Passion is the second leg of our journey on the path to musical self realization...' Imagine Charlie Parker, Gary Burton, Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Grant Green, Max Roach with Mel Torrme sitting in on tunes in the straight ahead jazz tradition yet updated for 2002. That's kinda what Green With Passion and Jon Thomas and Friends sounds like. 'Jon Thomas and Friends are stalwarts of the St. Louis Jazz Scene. This group is anchored by the smooth tones of Thomas' upright bass'... Renee Saller Riverfront Times . Accompanied in the rhythm section by Brian Campbell's in the pocket drums, John Farrar's versatile guitar and Jonathan P. Whiting on sensuous vibes. In the front line is Clifton McBride, Jr. Alto Saxophone and Flute with Hugh Jones on Tenor Saxophone. Green With Passion introduces young guitarist Chris Burchett. Rounding out the group is the sophisticated vocal sty lings of Stephen Koritta. About the Compositions These are original compositions; all with the exception of Round Trip composed within the past year. Most of the tunes were composed in the weeks leading up to the January 2002 recording date. Stephen Koritta and John D. Farrar collaborated on River of January. Inspired by a Brazilian fantasy River of January is a bossa nova tinged composition opened with a somewhat outside Alto Sax solo by Cliff, followed by Jonathan on vibes and fours featuring the bass and drums before John's guitar solo. Stephen's vocal moves the tune effortlessly creating an atmosphere of wonder thus reinforcing the fantasy vision expressed in the lyric. Mr. Buckethead by Clifton McBride, Jr. is classic contemporary jazz. Cliff's use of jazz (altered) scales and not to predictable chord progressions give this song a really hip sound yet the tempo is medium laid back creating a certain texture. Cliff and Hugh start with contrasting saxophone solo's followed by guitar, vibes and bass work while Brian grooves in the pocket throughout. Hugh Jones is our hard bopper and Round Trip is his tune. Incorporating both bossa and swing this is a really fun bright tune. Hugh starts with a fiery precise tenor solo, then Cliff jumps right in on Alto slurring notes and seemingly in the middle of his solo changes approach. John's guitar and Jonathans vibe solos are a perfect compliment to each other in intensity approach and content. Just lay back, close your eyes and relax as you are transported on a musical red carpet ride, gliding serenely on soft summer breezes on a Soul Journey composed by Jonathan P. Whiting. The tasteful cymbal work and layering of instruments at the intro set the stage for Hugh's smooth Tenor solo. Out of nowhere comes Chris Burchett (16 and in his first recording session) on guitar. Full toned and brimming with ideas Chris channels his considerable talent into an exceptionally expressive statement. The stage is thus set for Jonathan on vibes in a Burtonish solo to lift the listener yet further on the breezes of the Soul Journey. Thomas on double bass then prepares us subtly for the end of the journey. 'I really like that song' ..said Nathan Hershey Green With Passion recording engineer. 'Whenever anyone comes in and asks what I am working on I tell them listen to this. It's pretty cool!' Lori Alaine named after Jonathans wife is one of two waltzes included in this collection.' Actually when we went into the studio we had three waltz tunes we wanted to do. At one point I was thinking that maybe Jon Thomas and Friends had found their real jazz voice as a waltz band for 2002'... muses Thomas. Featured on this tune is the rhythm section. Appropriate to this highly personal song Jonathan takes an exceptional solo after the head. Farrar on guitar follows. Clean simple and very good! Jon Thomas composed the remaining tunes in this collection. At the top of the date is Late Night. Always looking for the groove Thomas' Late Night has a funky bass line with a solid chord progression very reminiscent of the blues yet the tune swings on the bridge like a funky/swing tune if there is such a category. Jonathan starts out the solos on vibes and then Cliff comes in and makes it clear that Late Night is in fact funk, soul, blues and swing just like a real Late Night. Farrar and Thomas follow on guitar and bass respectively in the established groove. Your Love featuring an almost Bobby Daren sounding Stephen Koritta is in the tradition of the Roger and Hart standard show tune. Koritta does an exceptional job on both the lyric and his scat solo. The remainder of the group then jumps in with smoking solos starting with Hugh on Tenor, followed by John on guitar sounding like Charlie Christian and followed by Jonathan on vibes. Matador has that third world bossa thing going on. Based loosely on parts of the progression of Song For My Father by Horace Silver Matador is a birth of the cool, bossa as interpreted by this group of jazzers. Chris Burchett smokes his guitar solo on this song. Vibes transitions are exceptional and bass work by Thomas solid. Color Me Green the other waltz included in this collection is high intensity. 'This tune just flowed out of me.. states Thomas. I could here it from the jump! I just had to organize the chords. Once that was done especially the seventh chord turn back I was gone. A Christmas present of sorts I did this tune while relaxing around the house on December 25,2001'. In that same vain the group smokes this up tempo bop waltz. Waltz Thang Documentary Video Music by Jon Thomas Video by Jason King Included with this CD is a QuickTime movie 'Waltz Thang' which gives the viewer an insight into the 'Off The Block' CD release event held at the acoustically perfect Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, Missouri April 2001.' Jon Thomas and Friends is committed to all art forms and exposure of our audience to the best we can do. Our release events for these first two recordings are more than us asking our families, friends and fans to come see us stand on stage and play some tunes. That's been done! We want to offer more challenges to ourselves, involve other artists and provide a means for artistic interchange. Check out the video and you will see a lot of what Jon Thomas and Friends is about'... states Thomas. Look for 'Off The Block' by Jon Thomas and Friends! About the Players Jon Thomas Double Bass, self taught, band leader, Clifton McBride Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute and Piano Webster University, John Farrar Guitar Self Taught Brian Campbell Drums Self Taught Jonathan P. Whiting Berklee School of Music Boston MA Hugh Jones Berklee School of Music Boston MA Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville IL Green With Passion Compositions John H. Thomas, Jr. nojtones music ASCAP copyright 2002 Late Night, Your Love (music and lyric), Matador and Color Me Green Clifton McBride, Jr. buckethead Music ASCAP copyright 2002 Mr. Buckethead John D. Farrar jdfarrar Music ASCAP copyright 2002 River of January Jonathan P. Whiting jpvibes Music ASCAP copyright 2002 Lori Alaine, Soul Journey Hugh Jones hughrennae Music ASCAP copyright 2002 Round Trip DeNoj Records St. Louis, MO copyright 2002 all rights reserved Cover Art (Front) C'babi Bayoc 'Picked Out'