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Butch Thompson

Daring

The record company is named for its owner, Mason Daring, but the musical notion pursued by Butch Thompson on his Yulestride is a truly daring one: treat 17 Christmas chestnuts to a slow roasting in the kiln of stride-style piano, the ur-jazz form whose stateliness lends any song grandeur beyond its means. By using stride’s mode of suspending crystal chords in the air like antique ornaments, Thompson, best known for his work as Garrison Keillor’s sideman, gives long-familiar melodies new contexts, new textures, and a surprising depth.