J. Thompson
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J. Thompson

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Adult Contemporary

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Review by Jonathan Widran

By 2005, it was a common complaint among smooth jazz insiders and fans that the format was too bland and controlled, and there was, perhaps, too much of an emphasis on smooth jazz radio stations for playing format "legends" rather than giving indie talent a break. Veteran guitar sideman J. Thompson is one of the few independent musicians to breakthrough with his 2003 release Romantic Night being voted the number one most-played indie CD of 2003 by smoothjazz.com and his song "Tell Me the Truth" hitting the Top Ten on the airplay charts. That success should continue with Inside World, an amiable collection which opens with the crisp and catchy electric guitar-driven gem "Marché Marché," and chills the night with the obvious first single, the thoughtful and romantic "Tale of Tiernan." That dual vibe of energetic light funk and graceful ballads permeates the disc, whose standout tracks include the bright, rockin' blues-tinged "So Sexy" and the bubbly retro-soul tune "Gimme Sum." For more adventurous listeners, a few cuts take Thompson out of the radio-ready zone, particularly the more trad jazz-minded, drum brush and synth-harmonica driven shuffle (which sounds kind of like a cute TV theme), and the anthemic rock ballad closer "One Day," which calls to mind some of Neal Schon's more brilliant solo work in the later '90s.
Tracks - All Music


May 15, 2006

At last... The long anticipated follow up to J Thompson's 2003 Smooth Jazz hit debut CD, ROMANTIC NIGHT. The San Francisco Bay Area guitarist has been busy creating this new soulful project over the past few years by turning inward first... According to the artist on his website, "These days we all need some time to escape into our own place to take a breather from the stress of every day life. Music can really cure and energize the soul." From there, J moved outward and gathered together some fine players including keyboardist Peter Horvath, drummer, Oscar Seaton, percussionist Louis Conte and special performances by Norton Buffalo. INSIDE WORLD is an organic romp into Smooth Jazz with a retro spin and a dash of blues and funk. Fans of the SJ genre will love the radio friendly "Marché Marché" (the project's first single), the crisp and relaxed, "Tale of Tiernan," and the romantic, "Dreamer." All the while Thompson is sure to lure you into the album's other cool tunes, like the strolling blues of "Cincy In The City," featuring the harmonica of Norton Buffalo, the CD's inviting vocal (which happens to be the title track) featuring J singing with smoky intimacy, and the funky "Gimme Sum." There's more than one track featuring Buffalo's harp, and the combo of that sound with Thompson's guitar is synergistic... This is a smoothly diverse, enjoyable, Smooth Jazz meets Americana effort from one of the most innovative players we know. ~SANDY SHORE - smoothjazz.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Guitarist J. Thompson brings his deep background in jazz, rock, and R&B to his music. His release "Inside World" follows his award winning 2003 CD "Romantic Night," and continues to redefine contemporary jazz. From the upbeat to the calming and romantic, the CD takes you away from the every day and lets you go to your own "Inside World."

J. says "My favorite thing about this album is that it has a retro sound - it's new "old" music. It feels familiar to many of us who grew up with jazz, rock and funk but it is contemporary and fresh at the same time. It's a mix of styles because most of us like several styles of music." And J's line up includes some of the world's best players - on keyboards Peter Horvath, drums Oscar Seaton, percussion Louis Conte and a special guest appearance by Norton Buffalo on chromatic harp.

A professional musician since the age of 16, Thompson's expertise on guitar, bass and drums has led him to participate in a wide range of projects throughout his career. In 2003 Thompson's contemporary jazz album "Romantic Night" was voted the #1 most played independent CD of 2003 by Smooth Jazz.com . The song "Tell Me the Truth" charted in the top 10 on the R&R national radio charts and continues to be a favorite on play lists today. Like "Inside World," the album also features an all star line up including Marc Russo, Will Kennedy, Eddie Henderson.

Earlier in his career as a session bassist, Thompson worked with producers Jim Gains and Allen Toussaint. Outside of the studio, Thompson played bass with the Jorge Santana band in the late 70's and 80's and with the Pablo Cruise band in the 90's, among many others.

Thompson moved into the adult contemporary world in 1989 with his hit album, "Tell Me Tell Me." The Gavin Report described the album as "One of the year's best independent AA releases." The album, produced by Thompson and featuring Marc Russo (Yellow Jackets, Doobie Brothers) on sax included 2 singles that charted in the top 20.

J.Thompson has recorded or preformed with... Allan Tousaint, Marc Russo, Will Kennedy, (both former Yellowjackets) David Garfield, Tom Coster, Tim Gorman, Brandon Fields, Eddie Henderson, Gary Brown, Oscar Seaton, Steve Smith, Greg Almond, Steve Miller, John Handy, Mickey Hart, Mark Jordan, Karl Perazzo (Santana), Jorge Bermudez, Luis Conte, Terry Disley, Peter Horvath, Marty Balen, Keith Knudsen (late Doobie brothers drummer), Sal Valentino, Pablo Cruise, Jorge Santana...to name a few.

J. Thompson is currently working on his next album along with writing for soundtrack projects.