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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Where It's At! - Tres Bien



Where It's At!
The Exciting Piano And Rhythms Of 
The Quartette Tres Bien
Produced by Milt Gabler
Cover Photo by Hal Buksbaum
Decca Records DL 74822


Jeter Thompson - Piano
Richard Simmons - Bass
Albert St. James - Drums
Percy James - Congas & Bongos

From the back cover: Harambee!

That's how the first side of this album ends. Being translated, the word means "pull together." It is a title of considerable significance, for the real secret of the Quartette Tres Bien is its teamwork – its pulling together. That's where it's at!

Jeter Thompson, the pianist, is the key figure around whom everything else is built, but his is not just a star with three accompanists. All four work selflessly together in the creation of their musical edifices. They listen intently to one another. They encourage one another. There is no feeling of rivalry, of jockeying for position. The good of the group is the common objective.

To see them in the record studio is a revelation. Relaxed, smiling and confident, there is no temperament and no feeling of strain. Much of this derives, of course, form the fact that they have been together so long and know each other's capabilities intimately. In addition, they have an enormous untapped (unrecorded, that is) repertoire. A sheet of paper is produced which bears a long list of numbers they are prepared to play. "What would you like?" The problem of programming is then left to the producer, Milt Gabler, for the repertory is one of great variety.

The Quartette overcame the problem of establishing tis musical identity long ago. In the highly competitive arena of the piano groups, this is a matter of prime importance. Once the identity is established, however, it has to be maintained, as this group well knows. The polished elegance of Thompson's piano, the quick African patter of Percy Jame's percussion, and the steady pulse provided by Richard Simmons and Albert St. James, together produce a sound that is their trademark, and they apply it to everyone's music, from Chopin to Handy to Gershwin to Mancini.

The End Of A Lover Affair
Feeling Good from the Musical Production "The Roar Of The Greasepaint The Smell Of The Crowd"
On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
Moon River
Somebody Loves Me
Polonaisia (Based on A Theme from Chopin's Poionaise in A Flat)
St. Louis Blues
It Was A Very Good Year
Lucky "28"

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