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Marvin Thompson Jr. – Kind Words

Aug. 18, 2017

Keyboardist/writer/producer Marvin Thompson Jr. has led a wonderfully productive and pretty prolific musical life. Writing music for numerous musicals and short films, Thompson has also released several instrumental projects, including an earlier album entitled In Focus and his current release Kind Words, both on the December Sky music label. He has served as Musical Director for several stage plays, including Torn Between Two Loves and the Plowshares Theatre production of Soulfest and Spunk. He wrote and scored the music for the independent film, Guilty Innocence for the Swift Winds Media production company. He’s also the writer and producer of the hit stage musical, City Square.

His latest recording is a delicious myriad of smooth jazz moods, ranging from the upbeat and funky to the mellow and silky. Whatever the mood, this music is loaded with melody and presence. Keyboards and piano handled well always captures my attention, especially if the musician is in full control of where the music is going and its character. He/she should also have a good sense of just how far the music might reach into the inner you, the listener. Thompson has that and more.

After turning your ear and setting the funk in motion with his lead track “From There to Here,” the keyboardist travels around your musical taste buds and delivers on such delicacies as the title track which is a bouncy, level, textured show of class, a smartly cool cover of Bill Withers’ classic “Just the Two of Us,” the sweet and melodic ”Unmovable” (very riveting and soulful keys work here), and the lilting and airy mid-tempo “The 24th Concept (from City Square).”

Only 8 tracks appear on this album, but they are 8 well-conceived, well-produced, and well-performed tracks that clearly capture the essence of the man himself as an artistic, insightful, and well-rounded artist. Grab a listen. A++ effort, to be sure. – Ronald Jackson