KITCHENER, Ont., April 15, 2015 — The legendary trumpet player Herb Pomeroy died in 2007, but his innovative ways of arranging jazz music will be very much alive at The Registry Theatre when guitarist David Thompson takes the stage on Friday.
“The Registry concert is a dream come true,” Thompson said in an interview.
Thompson studied under Pomeroy at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the late 1980s, and learned what is called Line Writing. Pomeroy played with some of the greatest names in jazz, including Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton, becoming famous as a swing and bebop trumpet player.
For years, Thompson created new arrangements of jazz standards, and used the principles of Line Writing in his own composition, too. The Registry Theatre gig will be the first time Thompson showcases this work, which he calls harmonically rich and very linear.
“Every player has a melody. That’s what Herbie would always say: ‘Every player has a melody to play,’” Thompson said.
In most jazz shows, the artists play a melody, and then take turns soloing.
“But this stuff is more through composed and arranged so that solos come up and they go back into the written material. There is a continuity there that has been really exciting for me,” Thompson said.
In Line Writing the arrangements, Thompson called upon the lessons of the master jazz composer, Duke Ellington — getting everyone to play the melody together, adding dissonance to make it richer and more lines to colour the sound.
Thompson still remembers some of the central tenetstenants of Pomeroy’s approach — that every melody has an internal arc, that some notes are more important than others, some notes are richer, and some notes areplaner plainer.
“So your voicings are kind of doing the same thing, so you get this three-dimensional kind of sound. That has always been fascinating to me. When he first started teaching on it, my jaw just dropped. A eureka kind of moment for me. That’s what I am attempting anyway, and I have a small band to try it,” Thompson said.
Thompson will be playing with his usual trio, whichthat has Mark McIntyre on bass and Giampaolo Scatozza on drums. He’s added a killer horn section — Dave Wiffen on sax, Rob Somerville on trombone and Steve McDade on trumpet.
The set lists includes Thompson’s new arrangements of the Ellington classics “Mood Indigo” and “Prelude to a Kiss,” Thelonious Monk’s “Straight No Chaser,” Kurt Weill’s “My Ship,” which was recorded by Gil Evans and Miles Davis. The singer Joni NehRita will join the show to sing one of Thompson’s new arrangements.
“It is ‘Everything Must Change,’ the old Quincy Jones tune,” Thompson said. “She is going to do that, kind of an R&B thing.”
The show will include some of Thompson’s original music as well.
“Actually, one of the tunes of mine called ‘Paper Boat’ originated as an assignment with Herb,” Thompson said. “You looked at a Duke arrangement, and you had to write a new song based on the Duke song and use his techniques and things, his road map, on your own tune. That tune ‘Paper Boat’ came out of that.”
Adding the horn section and Line Writing new arrangements bring new sounds to the music.
“It also allows me as a guitar player to also be a horn player, to be playing as part of that texture, so you get a four-part texture,” Thompson said.
“And sometimes it also involves the bass, so five-part texture. And then sometimes the bass player, Mark McIntyre will be playing tuba, he will be one of the horns playing the bottom end there,” Thompson said.
The Dave Thompson Trio + Three:
Friday, April 17
The Registry Theatre, 122 Frederick St., Kitchener
Tickets available at Centre in the Square box office, or call 519-578-1570