Bob Thompson

Light-pop figure Bob Thompson is not the same as a later jazz musician of the same name. This one, the "poor man's Esquivel," was born in 1924 in San Jose, California. After high-school band, he used music to put himself through college at the University of California at Berkeley. This was followed by work at stations KMBC and KGO in San Francisco, California. A 1950 stint in Paris with singer Jacqueline François led to further sessions abroad, even in the Far East, and on both coasts of the U.S. He worked with Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and others, but this work producing and arranging generally had nothing to do with the bachelor-playboy image projected on his own albums. (On the Rocks features a notorious photo of a bikini-clad brunette apparently sitting in a highball glass.) Thompson's solo records are similar to those of Esquivel. The chief reason for this is that RCA tacked on wordless choruses (just in case you weren't sure that Thompson's music is light listening.) Contrived primarily to accompany home entertaining, it is exemplary "music for a space-age bachelor pad." The effect is about the same as from an old romantic comedy of the day. There are infectious and "surprising" embellishments; worldly savoir-faire and taste are always in evidence; the dialogue is good but not great; and there is never anything too disturbing. But with such solid session veterans as Larry Bunker behind him, it is much better than average easy listening. ~ Tony Wilds

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