Easy Does It
Discovery - DSCD-956
1. Getting Sentimental Over You [mp3]
2. Some Other Time [mp3]
3. Secret Love [mp3]
4. Little Tear
5. Dream Dancing
6. Una Mass
7. Blue Trane
8. Born To Be Blue [mp3]
9. Beautiful Love
11. Midnight Waltz [full song download]
12. Jacob's Ladder
Jay Thomas (trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor sax & flute); Ceder Walton (piano, keyboard & arrangements); David Williams (bass); Billy Higgins (drums); Becca Duran (vocal on #4); Luis Peralta (percussion on #2 & 7); Dave Keim, Lloyd Spoon, Fred Burrow, Dickie Thorlakson & Biff Bole (trombone on #2, 4, 7, 9 & 12); Bill Ramsay (trombone section orchestration)
Recorded on December 17th, 1984 & December 10th, 1985
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"Easy Does It" REVIEWS
By Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times - June 1989
Jay Thomas, a Walton protégé from Seattle, is a protean performer. A fluent soloist on trumpet and flugelhorn, he switches to flute (and Walton moves to an electric keyboard) for "Little Tear," an Eumir Deodato song in which Becca Duran makes a beguiling guest vocal appearance. Five of the 12 performances are enhanced by a trombone quintet. To top it off, the amazing Thomas plays tenor sax, and admirably, on John Coltrane's "Blue Trane." Along with a set of standard tunes the set ends with two Walton originals, one of which is the delightful "Midnight Waltz," a flute-and voice hum-along by Thomas. Not for nothing is this label called Discovery. If fame reaches him now, it won't come a moment too soon, he is 38. Five stars !!!!!
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By Mike Shera, Jazz Journal International - January 1990
My only previous encounter with Jay Thomas was on a Slim Gaillard album (Hep 2020) where he soloed on trumpet, alto and tenor saxes. The liner said that Thomas came from Seattle, was an astonishing multi-instrumentalist and the jazz world would surely hear more from him. Well, here he is again, and this CD demonstrates beyond doubt what a talented musician he is. The choice of the Cedar Walton trio as accompanist was an excellent one, for Walton is in superb form as soloist and accompanist, and David Williams and Billy Higgins play with exemplary taste and propulsion. Thomas mainly plays trumpet here. He has a superb full sound, wonderful time, a delightfully relaxed and confident approach that stem from a superb technique, and is full of fresh ideas. He reminds me a little of both Clifford Brown and Kenny Dorham, but only a little. Mainly he is his own man. The first two tracks have relatively short solos, but his long muted solo on Secret Love is a gem, and Walton also plays an exceptional solo. Little Tear represents a complete change of mood. Becca Duran makes a brief appearance and sings her songs well, whilst Thomas produces a fine flute solo! He is back on trumpet for Dream Dancing, an attractive Cole Porter tune that I first came across on a Zoot Sims album, as he is on Kenny Dorham's Una Mas. The trombones are with him on Blue Trane, and he plays tenor in the arranged passage at the beginning, but solos on both trumpet and tenor, with Cedar on electric piano. Needless to say he's a highly competent tenor player. Born to Be Blue proves he can play a trumpet ballad with the best. Is there no end to the man's talents? I shall be surprised if this is not one of my albums of the year. Needless to say, it is unreservedly recommended.
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By Paul B. Mathews, Cadence - September 1990
Cedar Walton the composer has long been recognized. It is Walton the arranger whom you will identify as the one to blame for needing twice as long as usual to listen to this album. Why twice as long? Because each track contains so many creative touches, nuances and surprises that you'll find yourself doing repeated instant replays on each before moving on to the next. Only two of the titles are Walton originals. The other ten cover a wide range from Mel Torme's torch song "Born to Be Blue" and the mellow "Getting Sentimental Over You," through Cole Porter, on to Kenny Dorham and John Coltrane. The distinctive arrangements (with brass section parts by Bill Ramsay) and consistently fine playing make each tune stands out on its own. "Blue Trane" is a case in point. Everybody-the trombones, the quartet with Walton on electric piano and Thomas adding both, at least to these ears, a trumpet and tenor voice-lay down Coltrane's minor key theme in rich deep layer of harmony. This dark backdrop makes Thomas' trumpet solo contrast all the more brightly. After we mentally give him his accolades, he makes a surprise (to us) return after Walton's solo blowing some Coltrane licks on the tenor. Walton creates some wonderful contrasts on his own. In the days before Fusion, "funky" meant an earthy swinging kind of blues sound. His electric piano solo on Coltrane's hard-bop blues is funky in that original sense of the word. Another delightful surprise comes with your first listen to the quartet's version of "Secret Love." It's obvious that they all loved the classic sound of the original Miles Davis Quintet. Thomas on muted trumpet plays one of his best solos of the date over a repeated vamp laid down by Walton and Williams while Higgins uses his brushes to gently paint the rhythm. When Walton romps, Williams swings and Higgins closes it out, you can sense that the spirits of Garland, Chambers and Philly Joe were smiling. Higgins is the contributor of yet another of the musical gems sprinkled throughout those arrangements. On Walton's "Jacob's Ladder", whenever the full band reaches a break in the accented single note theme there's Higgins playing melodic counterpoint on the drums. The tracks are about equally divided between small group with brass, and quartet only sides. Among the latter, Walton's "Midnight Waltz" and the Dorham tune, "Una Mas," stand out. The other Brazilian tune, "Little Tear," features a very nice vocal by Becca Duran with Thomas switching to the flute. We could find no additional background on the Seattle based Thomas beyond the little given in the liner notes. However, it was no surprise to see him crediting Ira Sullivan as a musical and personal inspiration. Like his fellow multi -instrumentalist, Thomas plays trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor and flute with equal skill. His main instrument is the trumpet. On "Born To Be Blue, he enunciates his notes with the same natural clarity that a polished speaker uses with his words to sing out the tune while maintaining it's 3:00 in the morning torch song mood. Each arrangement so distinctively frames its respective tune that it makes the album a sort of audio portrait gallery. One that you can stroll through time and again and still discovers something new.
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By Joseph Murphy, Earshot
Although multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas has been on the scene for well over a decade, this is his first release. If the wait was required to work up this combination of players and performances, then it was well worth it. In the tradition of Benny Carter, Ira Sullivan, and even Ornette Coleman, Thomas has taken on the formidable task of finding both a reed and trumpet voice. Although the recording more prominently displays his stronger trumpet voice, it is clear that Thomas has an individual tenor voice as well. On trumpet, Thomas is one of those modern classicists who can sound like Miles one moment and Brownie the next without missing a beat or sounding strained in transition. His strong tone and facility combine with marvelously inventive solo ideas to carry standards such as "Secret Love" and "Some Other Time" and push up the energy on Cole Porter's "Dream Dancing" and "Getting Sentimental Over You." The inclusion of blues-based gems "Blue Trane" and Walton's thoroughly infectious "Jacob's Ladder" nicely offset the standards and provide a showcase for the trombone chorus orchestrated by Bill Ramsay. And-oh,yes-not a bad backup trio. As recent patrons of the Cedar Walton Trio can attest, this is a group that can perform the most delicate trio filigrees one tune and sound like the entire Basie band the next. If you wanted to cite the most diverse and dynamically sound piano trio working in jazz today, a prime contender would be this one with Walton on piano, Billy Higgins on drums, and David Williams on bass. On this set it is easy to see why. Check out Walton's uncanny comping, dovetails fills and unhesitating but always complementary solos. Or Higgins' smooth-as-mayonnaise press rolls, brush work, and line playing. Or Williams' hand-in-glove time lock with Higgins. A soloist could ask for no more. Thomas' solos reflect the ease and accomplishment of his backing trio, as background and foreground seem to dissolve. All in all Jay Thomas with the Cedar Walton Trio is an excellent piece of work.