Sunday, August 14, 2011

StLJN Audio Archive:
Quartette Tres Bien - Boss Tres Bien

Today's Audio Archive post features the Quartette Tres Bien's debut recording for a national label, and comes to us via the blog Soundological Investimigations.

QTB were one of the better known groups of St. Louis' Gaslight Square era, and were sometimes compared with Ramsey Lewis, the Three Sounds, and other piano-based groups playing groove-oriented music.

The members of the group as heard on Boss Tres Bien were Jeter Thompson (piano), Richard Simmons (bass), Albert St. James (drums) and Percy James (percussion). (Thompson continues to perform with his brothers Howard and Harold in a successor group, Trio Tres Bien.)

Boss Tres Bien
(pictured, upper left) was recorded for and originally issued in 1964 by the St. Louis-based Norman label, for which QTB recorded several sides. When the group signed with Decca later that same year, the LP was given new cover art (pictured, lower left) and reissued as their first effort for the label. Here's what Dusty Groove had to say about it:

"A landmark blend of soul jazz and bossa nova – cut by the legendary Quartette Tres Bien back in the 60s! The group are kind of a "piano trio plus" – an outfit with piano, bass, and drums in the lead – but also plenty of conga and added percussion – a style used here to really underscore the bossa inspiration of the set – often in ways that are more driving and more complicated than original 60s bossa recordings themselves! The feel is really unique – almost equally inspired by African rhythms in parts – and even when the group are playing familiar numbers, then manage to transform the tracks completely with their inventive approach to rhythms and super-searing work on piano!"

The tracks on the album are "Boss Tres Bien,""Rhodesian Chant", "Always on Saturday", "The Sweetest Sounds", "I Love Paris", "Lover Come Back To Me", and "Days Of Wine & Roses"

To download a free copy of Boss Tres Bien, go here, select one of the download sites from the menu displayed, click on it, and follow the instructions from there.

The StLJN Audio Archive links only to recordings that are out-of-print or that never have been commercially available. The purpose of the Audio Archive is encourage discussion, appreciation and knowledge of St. Louis jazz artists, and we encourage you to support them (or their estates) by purchasing authorized recordings and merchandise or, whenever possible, attending live performances.

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