The Underdog

The Underdog 


1. Both Andunderdog1782. Silver Twighlight
3. Spring Canon*
4. Watt's Up
5. The Underdog
6. Hippopotamus Shoes
7. Con Alma
8. Kinnikinik
9. Star Crossed Lovers

Jay Thomas (trumpet and saxophone); John Hansen (piano); Paul Gabrielson(bass); Russ Botten (bass tracks 3 & 5); Jon Wikan (drums)

recorded by Jim Wilke Hatchcover Productions at Tulas and The Cotton Club 2001 edited and mastered by Greg Williamson, Pony Boy Studios produced by Jay Thomas for Marvin at McVouty Records cover design by Karen Hansen


From Jay -

These tunes were all recorded by Jim Wilke for other projects. For strictly commercial reasons, we chose other cuts. These tunes were the underdogs. In retrospect, these might be hipper--you be the judge.

As a younge jazz player I first listened to all the guys that were, and are still to me, the "blue chip players" like Sonny Rollins, Trane, Miles, Sonny Stitt, and Clifford. (I will stop now because the list is so extensive). As a fledgling local player I hung out with a lot of older musicians, learning about their lives, socializing and being included in some playing situations. I started to recognize pretty quickly that some of these musicians had their own sound. Now I see that a major part of the beauty of jazz is the celebration of the individual. Not everybody is going to be a star...but if they have their own thing it will stand on its own. I met and heard guys like Floyd Standifer and Freddy Greenwell and Dick Thorlakson and Neal Friel...these guys on a good night could really light it up. But more importantly they were communicating to me directly who they were...they each had their personal truth.

When I got much older (in my thirties) I got a chance to meet and hang out with Zoot Sims...what a class act -so original and swinging. Previously, I was not a Zoot Sims fan either, but in person he switched my head around! Then a few years later I heard Al Cohn and it was a full blown revelation! What a lyrical player he soulful.

When I discovered the tune "The Underdog" that Al Cohn had written, it was his melody coupled with lyrics written by Dave Frishberg that really moved me.

I am still attracted to "lyrical losers" is probably too late to change. I love those underdogs...I'll still put all my money on 'em.

Special mention to my piano player, John Hansen. First of all, I love his playing. John plays a lot of things that are totally melodic and unique. He always follows his muse when improvising. If his idea starts to cross rhythmic or chordal boundries--he fearlessly follows--often into paths unknown. John swings like mad and some of my favorite playing experiences have been with him.

Jay Thomas, July 2005

The Underdog Lyrics

by Dave Frishberg...
Here I go again, about to drop another bundle on the underdog, the underdog.
Isn't it a shame, but that's the kind of game I play.
People think it's funny when they see you got your money on the clown
and the chips are down.
And when your side gets out-classed, they say "Nice guys wind up last."
But there is a strange satisfaction when you're putting all your action
on the underdog, the underdog.
Even when you know the odds may never go your way.
Cause fav'rites don't always win.
That long shot may come in.
And, sooner or later, you know ev'ry underdog will have his day.
You figure the odds, you pick and you choose.
Some got to win, and some got to lose,
But favorites don't always win.
That long shot may come in. Who can say?
And, sooner or later, you know ev'ry underdog will have his day.