Old Reliable – Eli "Lucky" Thompson
Another classic blues variant from the Lucky Thompson/Oscar Pettiford sessions, this one is a bit simpler than some of the others but just as harmonically elegant. The stop-time intro has a two-measure bass break.
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- Recording: Lucky Thompson - Featuring Oscar Pettiford, Vol. 1
- Recorded on: January 30, 1956
- Label: ABC-Paramount (ABC 111)
- Concert Key: B-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (medium)
- Trombone - Jimmy Cleveland
- Tenor Sax - Lucky Thompson
- Piano - Hank Jones
- Bass - Oscar Pettiford
- Drums - Osie Johnson
Like the other Thompson/Pettiford blues, this one has an intro—in this case a melodic eight measures over rhythm section stop-time, followed by a two-measure bass solo break. The ending extends the melody also in a break, with rising quarter-note triplets leading to a C7(♯11) chord; this chord is in brackets in our lead sheets and parts as the piano doesn't play the full chord on the recording.
About the arrangement: The horns play unison for the beginning of the intro and most of the head. They split into harmony, with trombone above tenor sax, on the fourth measure of the intro; for the rest of the intro the tenor mostly hits with the rhythm section. The tenor adds a countermelody below the trombone in the tenth measure of the head. The horns are again harmonized in the ending, but here the tenor is on the melody above.
Our second parts show all the lower harmony notes. We also have trombone and tenor parts as recorded, showing what Lucky and Jimmy Cleveland played. The as-recorded trombone first part is written an octave lower, with a footnote indicating to play an octave above where it's written; the melody especially in the intro is very high for trombone and would be difficult to read in bass clef. Our regular bass clef lead sheet is also written in the lower octave, but our trombone second part, with the harmony notes for the intro, is in the upper octave where it works better with another horn on the first part/melody.
Eli "Lucky" Thompson
June 16, 1923 – July 30, 2005
Saxophonist Lucky Thompson is one of the great treasures of jazz. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina, but was raised in Detroit, Michigan. He played in local groups with Hank Jones, Sonny Stitt and others. In August, 1943, when he was 19, he left Detroit with Lionel Hampton's Orchestra, eventually arriving in New York City. Still a teenager, his first recording date was with Hot Lips Page on March 18, 1944. Later in 1944 he started recording with both Lucky Millinder and Count Basie. Read more...