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Ed Thigpen


During his long-standing stint with pianist Oscar Peterson (and with the oh-so-solid bass playing of Ray Brown), Ed Thigpen redefined just how tightly a rhythm section could lock into a groove. He's never been one to overplay; with a few magical flicks of the wrist, he wields the brushes and drumsticks like a painter, throwing in light rhythmic shades and understated Bop reflections to propel whatever group he plays with. His solo albums generally feature a piano or guitar trio performing straight-ahead jazz that's thrilling by virtue of its perfection of swing rather than extra-Bop exploration -- although the 1966 album Out of the Storm (with Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock) pushes into Post Bop territory at times. His highly sought-after freelancing skills lend perfect swing to any session, from Ella Fitzgerald to John Coltrane, and the players with whom he surrounds himself on his own albums can't help but make great music.
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