St. Thomas (song)
"St. Thomas" is perhaps the most recognizable instrumental in the repertoire of American jazz tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, who is usually credited as its composer. However, it is actually based on the traditional English song The Lincolnshire Poacher, which in turn, by way of the Folk process, evolved into a nursery song in the Virgin Islands, which Rollins' mother sang to him when he was a child. As such, it has a distinct Caribbean vibe to it.
"St. Thomas" became popular when it was released on Rollins's 1956 album Saxophone Colossus, though it had previously been recorded by Randy Weston in 1955 under the title "Fire Down There", on his Get Happy album. The tune is now considered to be a jazz standard and has been recorded by dozens of artists.
In popular culture
Improvisation from St. Thomas starting immediately after the melody
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"St. Thomas" was also featured as a track on the JNR 108.5 Radio Station in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV. It also appears on the soundtrack to the 1988 film Working Girl. The song also is performed on a 1991 episode of "The Cosby Show" entitled "27 and Still Cooking".
The Skatalites, pioneers of Jamaican ska, were jazz musicians. They recorded this song, which they originally heard as calypso music, in 1964 with the title "Musical Communion". It appears on 1964 Don Drummond's Jazz Ska Attack album.
- 2009 — Album: Where There's Smoke, Dallas Original Jazz Orchestra (St. Thomas arranged for big band in 1976 by Gene Glover)
- Ted Gioia Jazz Standards Oxford University Press 2012, ISBN 0-19-976915-X
- Interview on Open Source radio at http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/ros/open_source_070405.mp3 starting about 4.00 minutes in.
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