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The Thompson Fields is an album by the Maria Schneider Orchestra that won the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2017.[5] Schneider was the composer, conductor, and co-producer of the autobiographical work. The title comes from the Minnesota farm where she was raised.[6][7]

The Thompson Fields
The Thompson Fields - Maria Schneider.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 22, 2015 (2015-06-22)
RecordedAugust 2014
StudioAvatar Studios, New York City
GenreJazz, big band
ProducerMaria Schneider, Ryan Truesdell
Maria Schneider Orchestra chronology
Winter Morning Walks
The Thompson Fields
Professional ratings
Review scores
All About Jazz5/5 stars[1]
The Daily Telegraph5/5 stars[2]
The Guardian5/5 stars[3]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[4]

The Thompson Fields comes with over fifty pages of liner notes containing photographs, drawings, and Schneider's thoughts about nature.[8]


Critical receptionEdit

In Stereo Review magazine, music critic Fred Kaplan called the album a masterpiece and ranked Schneider with big band composers Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Gil Evans, adding that she worked as an assistant to Evans and Bob Brookmeyer early in her career.[8] Critic Kevin Whitehead of NPR praised the album, though he said the album's grandeur could get "too purple".[6] At All About Jazz, Dan Bilawsky called the album "awe-inspiring". He said that the quotation from Theodore Roosevelt on the liner notes fits much of Schneider's music: "'There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty, than the preservation of anything that appeals to the higher emotions in mankind.'"[9] In The New York Times, Nate Chinen wrote that she is borrowing methods used by Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis but that she has her own way of "using timbre and harmony to bring a tactile presence to the dimensions of sound." Chinen added that her orchestra planned to perform this pastoral composition at the Birdland club in New York City.[10] Doug Ramsey at Arts Journal called The Thompson Fields a suite because of "its unity of style and its mood of reflection."[7]

In the UK, Ivan Hewett of The Daily Telegraph comments on the importance of the liner notes, the bird paintings by Audubon, and how the music mimics the Minnesota landscape's "quality of being both huge and intimate."[11] At The Guardian, John Fordham commented that, although The Thompson Fields is reflective, it also swings.[12]

The Thompson Fields won best jazz album of the year in the Readers' Poll at Down Beat magazine.[13]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Maria Schneider.

1."Walking by Flashlight"5:01
2."The Monarch and the Milkweed"12:07
3."Arbiters of Evolution"13:59
4."The Thompson Fields"10:00
7."A Potter's Song"5:29

Source: Allmusic[14]

"A Potter's Song" was dedicated to the memory of Laurie Frink, a trumpet player who had performed on all previous albums by the Maria Schneider Orchestra.[10]


  • Dave Pietro – alto saxophone, clarinet, piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute
  • Steve Wilson – alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, alto flute
  • Rich Perry – tenor saxophone, flute
  • Donny McCaslin – tenor saxophone, clarinet
  • Scott Robinson – baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
  • Greg Gisbert – trumpet, flügelhorn
  • Augie Haas – trumpet, flügelhorn
  • Tony Kadleck – trumpet, flügelhorn
  • Mike Rodriguez – trumpet, flügelhorn
  • Marshall Gilkes – trombone
  • Ryan Keberle – trombone
  • Keith O'Quinn – trombone
  • George Flynn – bass trombone, contrabass trombone
  • Frank Kimbrough – piano
  • Gary Versace – accordion
  • Lage Lund – guitar
  • Jay Anderson – bass
  • Clarence Penn – drums
  • Rogerio Boccato – percussion[15]


  1. ^ Bilawsky, Dan (June 2, 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields". All About Jazz. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  2. ^ Hewett, Ivan (11 June 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields, album review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  3. ^ John, Fordham (17 December 2015). "Maria Schneider: The Thompson Fields review – heartening jazz suite that's too good to miss". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  4. ^ Larkin, Cormac (19 June 2015). "The Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields - Album Review". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  5. ^ Park, Andrea (15 February 2016). "Grammys 2016: List of winners". CBS News. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b Whitehead, Kevin (18 August 2015). "'The Thompson Fields' Mixes Prairie Dreaming With A Big-Band Beat". Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b Ramsey, Doug (19 June 2015). "Maria Schneider: The Thompson Fields". Rifftides. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b Kaplan, Fred (4 June 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields". Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  9. ^ Bilawsky, Dan (2 June 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields". All About Jazz. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  10. ^ a b Chinen, Nate (1 June 2015). "Review: Maria Schneider Orchestra's 'The Thompson Fields,' Connections to the Natural World". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  11. ^ Hewett, Ivan (11 Jun 2015). "Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields, album review". Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  12. ^ Fordham, John (17 December 2015). "Maria Schneider: The Thompson Fields review – heartening jazz suite that's too good to miss". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  13. ^ Morrison, Allen (December 2016). "Schneider Attacking the Data Lords". Down Beat. Elmhurst, Illinois.
  14. ^ "The Thompson Fields - Maria Schneider Orchestra,Maria Schneider | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Maria * Ryan Montgomery - engineering Schneider". Retrieved 5 February 2017.