Paul Thompson Plays Bond – 6.11.13 – Thunderbird Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA

Paul Thompson
Plays the Music of James Bond Films
Space Exchange Series
Thunderbird Café, Pittsburgh, PA

Paul Thompson – bass;  Ben Opie – saxophones;  Ian Gordon – trumpet;  Chris Parker – guitar;  Thomas Wendt – drums

Last night, bassist Paul Thompson brought a group to the Thunderbird for the Space Exchange Series to play 2 sets of music from James Bond films. The music in a James Bond film, or any other spy/secret agent movie, plays a integral role in creating the sexy, stylish mystique that the films and the character are known for.  The themes that play along with the montages at the beginning of each film are the most popular and obvious Bond music (think “Diamonds are Forever”,  “Live and Let Die”, etc.).  But it’s the score that accompanies the film itself that really sets the mood and creates the mystique of 007. Thompson and his quintet covered a little bit of everything from the themes to Moonraker and Man With The Golden Gun to more obscure score pieces like “Bond Meets Solitaire”, and they sounded really good doing it.

Last fall, right before Skyfall was released, in anticipation of the film, I was listening to quite a bit of “secret agent music”, which not only consisted of music from Bond movies, but also different things like drum-n-bass, downtempo, and crime jazz,  as well as specific artists like Lalo Schifrin and Erik Truffaz.  I also really got into to the soundtrack to the film, Haywire, by David Holmes, which I thought was much better than the film itself.

When I think of the combination of jazz and James Bond, I automatically think about the 2001 Sex Mob release “Sex Mob Does Bond” on Ropeadope Records.  This record is incredible from start to finish and features several amazing John Berry compositions. I had to leave the show a little early last night so I missed the last few tunes.  I was a bit bummed today when I heard that they closed with “You Only Live Twice”, which is probably my favorite of the Bond themes.  I’m not sure if Thompson’s arrangement sounded anything like this one by Sex Mob, but I’m sure it was very cool either way.


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