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About this Clip:
Legendary organist Chester Thompson and his quartet perform the title composition from saxophonist Lou Donaldson’s classic 1962 album “Gravy Train” during his November 26, 2021 performance at the SFJAZZ Center, broadcast on Fridays Live.
One of the most revered Hammond organists alive, Chester Thompson has led a charmed musical life – writing, recording and performing for four decades with two of the legendary bands to emerge in the 1960s and 1970s, Tower of Power and Santana. He made his Miner Auditorium debut with a Thanksgiving time groove-fest including originals, standards, and music from saxophone great Lou Donaldson’s 1962 Blue Note soul-jazz classic “Gravy Train,” with his band including saxophonist Howard Wiley, guitarist Drew Zingg, and drummer Darrell Green.
Arriving in the Bay Area in 1969, Thompson worked with stalwart San Francisco saxophonist Jules Broussard before forming his own quartet, eventually releasing his aptly named 1971 debut, “Powerhouse,” on the Black Jazz label. He served a 10-year stint with Oakland-based funk phenomenon Tower of Power beginning in 1973, composing most of the band’s instrumental tunes and touring relentlessly before leaving to explore new horizons with Santana. Thompson recorded eight albums over his 26 years with Santana, and contributed greatly to their 1999 commercial zenith “Supernatural,” which sold over 30 million copies and won nine GRAMMY awards, including Album of the Year. Upon leaving the Santana fold in 2009, Thompson dove headlong back into jazz and released his 2012 follow-up to “Powerhouse,” entitled “Mixology.”