Eli "Lucky" Thompson


    Unlike many of his contemporaries who looked to American Songbook standards for the ballad portion of their repertoire, saxophonist Lucky Thompson wrote several of his own ballads. One of the most beautiful and heartfelt of these is Deep Passion, which we are now making available on jazzleadsheets.com. Lucky recorded this song twice: first with a quartet in January 1956, and then with Oscar Pettiford's 12-piece big band in June of the same year, arranged by Lucky himself. Both versions feature Lucky as a soloist.

    For both of these recordings, we have transcriptions of not only his solos, but also his interpretations of the melody. Lucky was a master interpreter of ballads, both standard and original, so we feel it's important to present his own ballads exactly as he played them. The Melody Transcriptions highlight the rhythmic alterations and fills with which he embellishes the melody; they show both the "in" and "out" heads. The Solo Transcriptions include some substitute chords that Lucky's lines imply, notated below the staff. Both transcriptions show his articulations clearly; note that many passages in these solos lack slurs/phrase markings because each note is lightly tongued.

    With these transcriptions, you can analyze Lucky's melodic and harmonic technique and let it serve as an inspiration for your own interpretation of this song.

    About Lucky Thompson, from Noal Cohen's Jazz History website:

    Thompson has been described as enigmatic, elusive and underrated but there is no disputing his brilliance, originality and importance in the evolution of modern jazz. During his three decades on the international jazz scene, he worked and recorded with just about every giant: Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk to name just a few. He transcended stylistic and geographical barriers playing in a wide variety of settings on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. and for extended periods in Europe.

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