1. For A Change
2. A Whole New You
3. Tony's Town
4. No Fun Intended
5. Time Out Of Time
6. Accidentally Yours
8. Free Verse
9. Malibu Party
12. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
Jay Thomas (trumpet, flugelhorn & soprano saxophone); Wataru Hamasaki (tenor saxophone); Geoffrey Keezer (piano); Matt Clohesy (bass); Jon Wikan (drums); Becca Duran (vocal on #7)
producer: Jay Thomas
associate producer: Jon Wikan
engineer: Paul Wickliffe
recorded on May 5, 2004
With this new CD project I certainly didn't have to worry about the chemistry of the rhythm section. The Geoffrey Keezer Trio is one of the most swinging and creative groups in jazz today. I won't go into Geoffrey's musical history here but suffice to say he has been in the forefront of jazz pianists since his debut with the Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at the age of 18. Since then he has performed with Art Farmer, Ray Brown Trio and many, many others. Last January in New York I sat in with Geoff, Matt and Jon when they were appearing with Ingrid Jensen and Seamus Blake and I knew immediately that this was a rhythm section that I would like to record with.
One other essential component of this recording is Paul Wickliffe. Bringing Paul in from New York to engineer this recording for us was a "no brainer". Paul has great ears and actually knows this art form we call jazz music. Paul has recorded so many great jazz musicians over the years that he now has an intuitive grasp of what jazz players want and need in their sound. If something is not quite right Paul is immediately on top of it. Direct, sensible....and sensitive. That is how I would characterize Paul.
My partner on this CD is a young tenor player from Japan, Wataru Hamasaki. Wataru is a very talented, natural player I first heard in Japan at a session and he was playing stuff sounding like Lester Young with some Warne Marsh thrown in! On my subsequent visits to Japan and when Wataru came to the states I could hear that he was an exceptional talent. (Others have recognized this talent and Wataru recently won the Selmer Saxophone competition in Japan). Well, on this CD he has definitely moved on from Lester but you can still detect deep roots in Wataru's playing. Check out his very rich, full sound and ability to emote when playing on his ballad. What is amazing about Wataru's musical progress these last few years is that during this time he was also studying to become a doctor. Happily last month Wataru passed his medical exams and is now an MD. Now that is over Wataru says he wants to spend his time practicing tenor instead of practicing medicine!
Now a little about the music...
For a Change, an original of Wataru's, is a very funky shuffle that really shows off Geoffrey's ability to cop a groove ala the Ray Brown Trio.
A Whole New You, a burning little bop tune by Joel Frahm has a tricky to play head on the changes to I Remember You.
Tony's Town is a Jon Wikan composition that has a series of dramatic pauses built into the song. The tune has an attractive straight eights open feel and features a fun to play soli section with some fresh harmonic input.
No Fun Intended, a medium tempo swinger from our bassist Matt Clohsey has an infectious melody. The song cycles from 4/4 to 3/4 and features a free blowing vamp on the end where the rhythm section and horns get to stretch.
Time Out of Time is a ballad of Wataru's and the band really got a vibe going on it. Wataru plays this with a lot of feeling and his sound is thick and rich.
Accidentally Yours, Geoffrey Keezer wrote for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when he was with that band. I get happy just listening to the rhythmic groove Keezer lays down under the melody.
Kinnickinick is a tune that I wrote dedicated to Native Americans. I had forgotten about it but Jon Wikan liked the melody and thankfully saved it from extinction. This has Becca Duran singing along wordlessly with the melody for a thicker layer and an extra bit of texture.
Free Verse, Geoffrey wrote for Art Farmer when he was a member of Art's group. I'm so glad I had the chance to play it on flugelhorn. Art was and always will be one of my heroes.
Malibu Party, an old West Coast jazz tune by Lennie Niehaus is taken at a brisk pace... there is no "coast'n" going on here!
Crossroads, a tricky tune in 5/4 with a tenor and soprano front line has a few odd metric things to keep everyone on their toes and in the present.
Joy, written by pianist Jessica Williams is taken at warp speed. Besides writing catchy blues tunes, Jessica is also a composer of memorable melodies. This is a 2 1/2 minute romp we played for fun but liked so much we kept it in.
Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone is a song rarely done as a ballad. Geoffrey and I played it as a duo. This one's for Karen.
Hope you like this music as much as I do.
--- Jay Thomas (May, 2004)
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Reviews of Accidentally Yours
Jazztimes October 2005 Reviews
By Doug Ramsey (Brass Tracks)
Accidentally Yours (McVouty)
Jay Thomas plays trumpet, flugelhorn and a small arsenal of reed instruments. He is so good on tenor sax that a few years ago when the late Bill Perkins had to bow out of a Bud Shank record date, Thomas got the call. I once wrote that his artistry on trumpet exceeded that of many better-known players. Nothing on this CD changes my mind. Accidentally Yours features two other extraordinary musicians, the former Ray Brown pianist, Geoffrey Keezer and Wataru Hamasaki, a newly minted Japanese medical doctor who operates a tenor saxophone. In his photographs, Hamasaki looks like a freshly scrubbed teenager. With the support of Keezer, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan, Hamasaki' expressiveness and tonal dynamics on his ballad "Time Out Of Time" exemplify the qualities that make him a young tenor to keep yours ears on. Thomas' "Kinnickinick" is one of the few jazz tunes reflecting the influence of American Indian music. The date has undertones, and in the case of Keezer's "Accidentally Yours," overtones of the Jazz Messengers. Keezer's playing is superb throughout. Thomas is one of the finest improvising musicians alive, as he demonstrates here on trumpet, flugelhorn and soprano saxophone.
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Music & nightlife
Jay Thomas and friends
By Paul de Barros
Seattle Times jazz critic
"Accidentally Yours," Jay Thomas and Wataru Hamasaki with the Geoffrey Keezer Trio, McVouty Records, $15 A few years ago, Seattle jazz ace Jay Thomas, who often plays in Japan, discovered a talented teenage tenor player named Wataru Hamasaki. A few years later, Hamasaki came over to Seattle and recorded "Accidentally Yours" with Thomas and pianist Geoffrey Keezer's trio. If solid-grooving, hard bop played at the highest level is your thing, make this one yours, not accidentally, but on purpose. Thomas plays trumpet, flugelhorn and soprano sax with cool authority, negotiating the harmonies with relaxed abandon on a nice variety of tunes by Hamasaki, Keezer, Jessica Williams and others. A stone bopper who plays with momentum and drive, lately, Thomas is sounding a bit like Miles - with a warm sound, kissing or falling off the ends of his phrases. Keezer's ferocious, percussive clarity is infectious on the title tune and the shuffling opener. "No Fun Intended" stretches into nicely noisy, conversational improv and Thomas' wife, vocalist Becca Duran, adds texture with a wordless vocal on Jay's "Kinnickinick." Drummer Jon Wikan contributes the flowing "Tony's Tune" and kicks the band throughout.
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By Jason West
Jay Thomas, Wataru Hamasaki, and Geoffrey Keezer divide the lion's share of jazz improvisation on this May, 2004 session taped at Ironwood Studios in Seattle, and while Thomas (a veteran Northwest trumpeter gaining international attention) and Keezer (whose resume includes stints with Art Farmer and Ray Brown) are well-established players, Hamasaki is a virtual unknown. Now here he is playing with the big boys, and making a big impression. Thomas encountered Hamasaki on a recent sojourn to the land of the rising sun, where Jay is an honorary member of the all-Japanese CUG big band. On this twelve-tune session the Japanese saxophonist reveals a full, buoyant tenor tone, legato phrasing, and a sophisticated musical awareness. Certainly, Hamasaki displays more improvisational ability than most Japanese players, who are often expert imitators but struggle to find their own voice. Geoffrey Keezer unleashes a host of memorable moments on this date. His creation "Accidentally Yours" (originally written for Art Farmer's band) serves as the title track. Keezer's touch on the keyboard is to be marveled-each note rings distinctly audible in the midst of skillfully sculpted, rapid solo runs. Vintage Keezer blasts straight out of the chute on "For a Change," a hardbop, funkified shuffle written by Hamasaki and reminiscent of Wayne Shorter's '60s compositional gems. Keezer's working trio, consisting of ex-Seattleite Jon Wikan on drums and Matt Clohesy on bass, round out the rhythm section and bring integral elements of fun and familiarity to the proceedings. Wikan's tune "Tony's Town" deserves note as a session highlight. In his role as bandleader, Thomas is heard to advantage throughout, most notably on the trumpet/piano duo "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone." It's his only ballad on the session and he gives a gravity-free, impressionistic reading. In vivid contrast, Thomas snuggles into his old school bebopper comfort zone on Lennie Niehaus's "Malibu Party" and Jessica Williams' double-time burner "Joy." The pairing of Thomas and Hamasaki is likely to leave a lasting impression on your musical consciousness. Their rich trumpet-and-tenor sound on unison harmonic passages (Keezer's "Free Verse") and back-and-forth bouts of solo horn tag (Clohesy's "No Fun Intended") are the dominant forces at play on this disc. As bright as young Hamasaki shines on his American recording debut, it's clear that Thomas knows a real jazz musician when he hears one. For this cross-cultural collaboration the old-school vet deserves our thanks and some extra noodles in his bento box. Visit Jay Thomas on the web.
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Bopndicks 20 picks May 2005
Radio programmer Dick Crockett was one of many who were ecstatic about this CD He picked it for one of his top picks 3 months in a row.
Jay Thomas, Wataru Hamasaki with Geoffrey Keezer Trio
ACCIDENTALLY YOURS McVouty Records
"This'll jump start your coffee clatching piro-maniacal Horace, Blue and Junior fix, bound to grab at a Clifford Brown, Harold Land, Kenny Clarke and Carl Perkins mix, This Thomas, Hamasaki, Keezer kicks'll have you thumbing through your old Storyville collection."
Bopndicks 20 Picks June 2005
Jay Thomas/ Wataru Hamasaki with Geoffrey Keezer Trio
"Thomas/ Hamasaki/ Keezer grasp , behold nature of hard bop with care and intimacy of Dharma craftsmen, some of these musicians have gigged with grand master Blakey to carry on the torch, a tradition valued as Baroque,a brief shining period in the evolution of modern improvisational music."
Bopndicks 20 picks July 2005
Jay Thomas/Wataru Hamasaki with Geoffrey Keezer Trio
ACCIDENTALLY YOURS McVouty Records
"Thomas and Hamasaki new Art Blakey sequence, Horace Silver, Detroit hard bop, Art Farmer /Benny Golson, Blue Mitchell/Tina Brooks, all that is good is new as soon as your crew invite the past to renew the next best hard bop CD, of 'Three Blind Mice, " in "Accidentally Yours" too."
Still Another Jazz Show June 6
"Since we're talking some serious post hard bop here , let's dance with an Art Blakey dream like state with JAY THOMAS and WATARU HAMASAKI with the GEOFFREY KEEZER TRIO. We played the title tune ACCIDENTLY YOURS on this new CD. You remember Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Bobby Timmons, back in the day of Art Blakey and THE JAZZ CORNER OF THE WORLD on the Blue Note label. It's smokin' your embers! That's what this JAY THOMAS and WATARU HAMASAKI is about, hard bop tellin' the truth!"