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  • 1. Mr. T
  • 2. Trip One
  • 3. Weird Harold
  • 4. Power House

"Contacted by phone at his home just south of San Francisco, Chester Thompson is quick in his response to a question about a record he made in three hours on a Sunday afternoon fifty years ago, Powerhouse. 'I was a young man, and it was an opportunity to show people that I could play a Hammond B-3 organ.' Little did Thompson know then that he was showing people who would place him on an unexpected career path into the whirlwind of pop music. Louis Pain, an outstanding B-3 player in the Pacific Northwest, knows the story behind Thompson being hired by one of the hottest pop-funk bands in the country. 'I'd been listening to Chester for a few years,' he tells this writer. 'I was going to the Fillmore district club, the Off Plaza, where his trio played mainly soul cover tune. [So] when I was living in a house with Tower Of Power's guitarist Bruce Conte, I played him Chester's album, telling him that this was who the band should hire to play keyboards as they were on the verge of getting someone else.' Pain also tried to interest TOP saxophonist Lennie Pickett in hiring Thompson. 'Lennie was un-persuaded. He said, 'I know this cat can't play the bass pedals like Billy Preston,' and I replied that actually he could. Lennie, going ballistic, said, 'I'm going to go down to this guy's gig just so I can tell you how full of crap you are!' Conte, Pickett and band drummer David Garibaldi, with Pain tagging along, did just that. They were thunderstruck. Tower Of Power bought Thompson a B-3 and he stayed in the band for the next ten years, until 1983. Then he joined Santana, working with that globally successful rock band until 2009. In addition to his obvious familiarity with 1960s soul jazz, the B-3 dynamo proves to have modern jazz inclinations. Sax man Rudy Johnson, influenced by John Coltrane and Eddie Harris, slathers his soulfulness over the tunes. Chester didn't know trombonist Al Hall, Jr. and drummer Ray Pounds before the record date and sometimes the music sounds under-rehearsed, but in the end Powerhouse delivers the goods." --Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat; Personnel: Chester Thompson (organ), Rudolph Johnson (sax), Al Hall Jr. (trombone), Ray Pounds (drums).

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