“Step Back” Mike Thornton And The Jay Cooley Quartet
Mike Thornton – Vocalist
Powerful and caressing, versatile and fluid, Mike Thornton can be daring and calculating in the same phrase. From his well-crafted scat solo on JoySpring, to the final note held to almost a whisper on When I Look In Your Eyes, Thornton shows his versatility. Every facet of this effort, from the initial planning to the inventive ideas for the arrangements to the mixing process, were co-conceptualized by Mike.
Joining Mike on this record is a line-up of Washington players well known to many of you. Paul Langosch, (who sometimes works with that other singer, the inestimable Tony Bennett) lends his very polished presence and deep groove to the music. Paul was a huge part of the production. His common sense and knowledge of the studio left his stamp on every aspect of the album. What can you say about Mike Smith, dean of Washington jazz drummers. Mike came to play, not talk. To me, he’s the best. Keep playing Mr. Smith, we hear your voice loud and clear. We are very pleased to have everyone’s favorite reed man, Bruce Swaim in the house. Check out his explosive duet with Mike Smith on the opening of Caravan. We are also graced with the presence of Steve Abshire on guitar. We call him “the Reverend”, which will be self-explanatory upon hearing his work here. Dig his incredible funky groove on Traffic Jam, and his lovely lyrical solo accompaniment to Thornton on You Go To My Head. So here’s Mike Thornton, jazz musician. I hope you will enjoy listening to this album as much as we loved making it. – (Album Notes: Jay Cooley)
Jay Cooley, besides being a accomplished soloist, is a supportive, extremely knowledgeable jazz-artist and a collaborative player. His extensive understanding of classic jazz song-style not only brings the feel of a song to life, it also helps define it for the singer. The subtle artistry of Jay’s solos and rhythmic layering of his comping is the cornerstone of our project. Jay defines the humble jazz gentleman of another era, and his classy style, both personally and musically, is contagious . MT