Anita Thomas | Dominos

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Jazz: Jazz quartet Jazz: Bebop Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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by Anita Thomas

This long awaited CD features original and inventive compositions by Anita Thomas. It's hard swinging, quirky and fun and is unapologetically jazz from the heart.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz quartet
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Which Waltz?
0:00 album only
2. Thredbop
0:00 album only
3. Just Like That
0:00 album only
4. Wednesday's Blues
0:00 album only
5. Dominos
0:00 album only
6. Australian Mood
0:00 album only
7. Monkey Mind
0:00 album only
8. Serves Me Right
0:00 album only
9. Anita's Bop Thing
0:00 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Anita Thomas – alto sax, bass clarinet, didjeridoo
Wally Minko – piano
Jeff Novack – bass
Matt Slocum – drums
Special guest Jeff Clayton – alto sax tracks 2 and 5

1. Which Waltz? by Anita Thomas

When my friend, Katie, included Khatchaturian’s Masquerade Waltz on a “Musical Whiplash” playlist for me I couldn’t help listening to the track over and over. This piece has always captivated me. The lush harmonies and swooning melodies are heady and alluring, and there is a sense of foreboding in his unremitting 3/4 time. Not content to just listen, I was soon transcribing the melody and harmonic structure and thus a seed was sown for this composition. I sculpted and molded it into a fast 4/4, begging the question “Which Waltz?”

2. Thredbop by Anita Thomas

Nestled in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, the town of Thredbo hosts a jazz festival each May. My band played at the festival for many years. Influenced by the music and compositions of Cannonball and Nat Adderley, I wrote this song with their horn partnership in mind. I first played it in Thredbo and dedicated it to the festival and township that hosts such a fun event. The piece begins with a question and answer, led here by Jeff Clayton. After the opening melody Jeff takes flight with robust and swinging style.

3. Just Like That by Anita Thomas

No mystery here with the title - the song goes “just like that”. I’ve always loved the deep woodiness of the bass clarinet. Aside from it being a jazz oddity, the bass clarinet can have a really funky sound. Tonguing notes in the bottom register has a percussive effect, which can lead to hours of fun playing and experimenting. It’s perfect to get low down but it can also sound plaintive and soulful in the upper register. There is some inspiration here from the great Marcus Miller – bassist and bass clarinettist, composer and arranger. “Borneo”, a novelty tune written in 1928 by Walter Donaldson, fed me the original harmonies of this song, but I did a number on it!

4. Wednesday’s Blues by Anita Thomas

I wrote, then performed, this simple blues on a Wednesday. Nuff said.

5. Dominos by Anita Thomas

Derived from a mode I was working on, this composition was written as an alto sax duet with my teacher Jeff Clayton in mind. Jeff is a master musician whose ideas are constantly intriguing and exciting, and I wanted to write something we could play together. Jeff is a daily inspiration to me. Not only did he teach me how to learn, he also taught me how to teach. As the song was taking shape, the title became obvious and in turn shaped the piece. I love seeing the elaborate patterns made by falling dominos and, as a kid, I even tried making some myself. It can be a bit like composing - you need to be patient. You will hear Jeff launching into the first solo with a strident ferocity!

6. Australian Mood by Anita Thomas

I wanted to write something for a radio performance in LA that captured elements of Australia and transported the listener to our ancient land. Of course it’s hard to pass up the didjeridoo for that mystical and ageless sound. The first section of this composition describes the eternal vastness of the desert at the dawning of a new day. The second section depicts our surrounding ocean - the restless rolling waves with sea birds swooping and diving, buffeted by the wind. My inspiration came from a 10-day bicycle ride I took with family and friends from Port Augusta to Eucla. We rode across part of the Nullarbor Plain and were also lucky to take a side trip to the Great Australian Bight where we watched whales teaching their calves to feed. The strength of the wind whipping up the cliffs from the sea was incredible. In stark contrast was the peacefulness and openness of the arid Nullarbor Plain. The word Nullarbor is derived from the Latin nullus for 'nothing' or 'no one' and arbor for 'tree'.

7. Monkey Mind by Anita Thomas

Haven’t we all experienced the “monkey mind"? That time when fantastical ideas pop into your head bombarding your brain one after another usually around 2am when you just can’t sleep. Brilliant concepts that actually seem feasible until the sun comes up and reality takes hold. Hmm….maybe not? Wally Minko on piano indeed understands the “monkey mind”, but then again his musical mind is a beautiful mystery in itself. A combination of the “monkey mind” and practicing a “finger buster” on the saxophone were the seeds of this composition.

8. Serves Me Right by Buddy Johnson

As a composer, Buddy Johnson’s crowning achievement is perhaps his classic “Since I Fell For You”. I was surprised when a young regular at a gig in California requested “Serves Me Right” from a Cannonball Adderley CD. I was unfamiliar with this track and rushed home to find it in my collection. What a find! Buddy Johnson, who was a bandleader, pianist, vocalist, composer and arranger, led bands from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. His stomping, swinging tunes packed the dance floor of Johnson’s heyday, but his tragic bluesy ballads (the ones I like best), drown the listener in a wave of impassioned despair. On our version of “Serves Me Right”, listen to the soulful and sensitive bass work of Jeff Novack.

9. Anita’s Bop Thing by Anita Thomas

Originally written to showcase a washboard. Yes – you read me right - a washboard. It was twice performed that way with the incomparable Ralph Reynolds on washboard. Another story. With happy playful lines and plenty of space for a musical conversation, I knew this song would be the perfect foil for Matt Slocum’s impeccable brush work.

Recorded January 22nd and 23rd 2007 by Greg Cook at CCI Media Studios, Torrance, CA
Mixed by Doug Smith at Shab Row Recording, Frederick, MD,
Mastered by Bob Katz at Digital Domain, Inc, Almonte Springs, FL

Photographs (Anita and Dominos) by Audra Haddock Martenot
Photo compositing by Sean Paradise
Graphic design by Mary Kent



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