Organist Chester "CT" Thompson Tops Sweet 16

Dec 12, 2012

While many media outlets are putting 2012 "to bed" for the next month, WEMU hosts continue to discover exciting new music to keep you grooving in 2013.  One of our recent discoveries is "Mixology" by veteran jazz organist Chester "CT" Thompson.   

Originally from Oklahoma and starting out as a church pianist and organist, Chester "CT" Thompson left at age 19 to play with Los Angeles jazz legend, saxophonist Rudolph Johnson.  When Johnson's band disbanded in 1969, Chester re-located to San Francisco and became an integral part of the city's explosive music scene leading to a significant stint as the funky keyboard wizard for the horn extravaganza, Tower Of Power.  Thompson had a little down time in 1983, but that was short-lived as Carlos Santana recruited this very flexible musician to bring added fire, depth and jazz feel to his band.   He would power the Santana band for the next 16 years.  After leaving Santana's ensemble in 2009, Thompson began to work on this project which we now are savoring.  No wonder WEMU hosts are using verbiage such as "long overdue" as they describe "Mixology" to you. 

As with every disc that makes our "Sweet 16", "Mixology" by Chester Thompson has our highest recommendation.  It is special not only because of Thompson's inspiration and improvisation, but many of his sidemen deserve greater  attention such as saxophonist Howard Wiley, guitarists Barry Finnerty and Chris Cain and percussionist Kenneth Nash.  Another reason this disc tops the list is because the song choices cover all the bases:  from sensuous ballads to burning, danceable originals such as "Medallion" and "Sista Strut" to soul-jazz organ treatments of hard-bop classics "The Moontrane" and "Speak No Evil".  We encourage you to seek out "Mixology" by Chester "CT" Thompson.  The other titles on the Sweet 16 are also worthwhile listening.  Along with Chester "CT" Thompson, 8 other brand new recordings made the grade, including Michigan musicians Walter White and Bea B and The Axxmann.  It's another great list thanks to you, the WEMU listener - interested in the best jazz, blues, world and roots music!

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY December 3 to December 9, 2012:  
LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR

1. CHESTER “CT” THOMPSON   “Mixology”   (Doodlin’ Records)
2. WINARD HARPER & JELI POSSE  "Coexist"  (Jazz Legacy Productions)
3. BETTYE LAVETTE "Thankful 'n' Thoughtful" (ANTI-)
4. ERNEST DAWKINS    “Afro Straight”   (Delmark Records)
5. JOE JACKSON  “The Duke”  (Razor & Tie)
6. TAKUYA KURODA   “Six Aces”   (www.takuyakuroda.com)
7. VICTOR WOOTEN  “Sword And Stone”  (Vix Records)
8. WAVE MECHANICS UNION  “Further To Fly”   (HX Music)
9. BILLY MARTIN / WIL BLADES   “Shimmy”  (The Royal Potato Family)
10. JEFF COFFIN & MU'TET "Into the Air" (Into the Air)
11. JULIAN FAUTH  “Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right”  (Electro-Fi)
12. WALTER WHITE & SMALL MEDIUM @ LARGE   “Breaking Good”   (Brassjar Music)
13. WILLIE BUCK  “Cell Phone Man”  (Delmark Records)
14. JOHNNY CONGA "Oye" (Hand to Drum Productions)
14. ANAT COHEN   “Claroscuro”   (Anzic Records)
15. BEA B AND THE AXXMANN "Born With The Blues"  (www.beabandtheaxxmann.com)
16. NEW STANDARD QUINTET "The Many Faces"  (www.newstandardlive.com)    

~COMPILED BY LINDA YOHN AND PATRICK HOLUBIK