"Making a Joyful Noise" - Chester Thompson's debut solo album "A Joyful Noise". Review by Alan Hewitt.
Well, a little late, this one, originally released in the USA way back in 1991, fans in Europe and the UK can now have the chance to catch up with Chester's first solo offering through the auspices of Steve Hackett's record label, Camino Records.
| Chester's talents on the drum kit are well enough known to fans of Genesis
to not need restating here, so what does his solo work bring to our knowledge
of Chester Thompson the "drummer's drummer"? Well, quite a lot actually
as we shall see...
"Tropical Sunday" opens the album with a funkified reggae style groove which definitely conjures up palm trees and a glorious sunset, certainly a "Joyful Noise" to start the proceedings with. This, in turn is followed by "So Soka" which, to my ears at least, is definitely reminiscent of Level 42 at their best. Peewee Hill's bass drives the rhythm along nicely and if that doesn't get your toes tapping, you are either deaf or dead - or probably both!"Homeland" reminds us exactly what elements of drama Chester always brought to both Genesis and Phil's shows; a stirring rhythmic soundscape which conjures up the magnificence of Africa. Drums are loud is an obvious statement to make but here Chester shows exactly the various shades of the percussive instrument to great effect. The album's title track "A Joyful Noise" follows and is indeed just that: with a glorious gospel styled chorus and piano accompaniment. This is in turn followed by the deliciously caribbean styled "Chunky" which I can imagine had everyone "getting down" and grooving to when it was being recorded, the bass is simply infectious and wonderful!
"Jussa Thang" is a more rockier track with some marvellous brass work from Harry Kim amongst others and his is definitely a track which Mr. Collins would approve of. "Cool Grove" is definitely the late night cabaret number complete with stylish piano break and sassy trumpet chorus, and the contrast between this and the next track; "Raw" couldn't be any more complete, this one is a bass slapfest galore accompanied by a wonderfully understated keyboard part by George Duke no less!
"Addatude" is a mid-paced soul styled number which leads into the final track: "Amazing Grace", a langorous sax-driven blues version which brings the album to a highly satisfying conclusion - Amen, Hallelujah!
So, there you have it folks, if you didn't think that Chester could do it on his own, this album will persuade you otherwise. Musically it is as accomplished and lush as you would expect from such a demanding performer and if you like your music with a little more "Swing" to it, then this one is definitely for you!