Drummer Chester Thompson has world-class chops and credentials, including stints with Weather Report, Frank Zappa, Genesis, and Phil Collins and a period as an in-demand Los Angeles studio musician. Chester has made Nashville his home for the past 15 years, teaching at Belmont University and the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Local audiences have only occasionally been treated to his live performances, but now have the chance to hear him on a regular basis with a working trio that just keeps getting better and better.
The trio consists of Chester, pianist Joe Davidian, and bassist Michael Rinne. This isn't an ordinary "piano trio" -- each of the group members gets equal solo billing, and their ensemble work is tight. Chester may be the star attraction, but Joe and Michael hold their own, with ferocious chops and inventive solos. The group's repertoire is on the edgy and adventurous side, with fresh, contemporary arrangements of jazz standards and more modern works. Chester is a quiet and gentle man, not given to excessive self-promotion. His drum work, however, is crisp, assertive, and always musical -- you'll hear why he's a legend among musicians, and one of Nashville's gems!
You can catch the Chester Thompson Trio every Monday evening from 8 to 10 pm at the Commodore Grille, 2613 West End Avenue. No cover.
The Nashville Jazz Orchestra has been looking for a regular Monday night home for some time, and it looks like they've found it! Their set begins at 5:30 Mondays, with a $10 cover.
(Here's an excerpt from a story by John Pitcher at www.ArtsNashvilleNow.com)
The orchestra has been looking for a permanent venue since last July, when it presented its final concert at the French Quarter in East Nashville. "We've been looking for a place where we could perform at least once a week and that had ample free parking," Williamson says. "We finally found it." Over the past few months, the orchestra tried out several venues, including 3rd and Lindsley, Jazz and Jokes and the Franklin Theatre. The Commodore Grille, however, proved to be the ideal fit. "We already had a strong connection to that neighborhood, because we are the big band in residence at the Blair School of Music," says Williamson. "We hope our residency at the Commodore Grille will expand our audience with the Vanderbilt students and people who live in the neighborhood." The Grille also offers lots of free parking – which was important to Williamson, since, among other things, he has a lot of musicians driving to the shows – along with food and drinks. Moreover, the Grille offered the NJO a weekly gig, something that 3rd and Lindsley and other potential venues did not.
Williamson says the NJO will probably appear at the Grille three Mondays a month, with the Duffy Jackson Big Band appearing one Monday a month. All big band concerts will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. "I think the happy hour time slot is also going to help us out," says Williamson, "because it's sometimes easier to get people to come out right after work instead of getting them to a show later at night." Monday's inaugural concert [February 20] brough the ensemble full circle. The band performed its final concert at the French Quarter with the great Nashville jazz vocalist Annie Sellick. She returned for the opening night at the Grille. ". . . an incredible night of jazz," says Williamson.