Charles Thompson

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Charles Phillip Thompson (born March 12, 1918 in Springfield , Ohio - † June 16, 2016 in Japan ), mostly Sir Charles Thompson , was an American jazz pianist, organist and arranger of bebop and swing .


Thompson began playing the piano professionally when he was ten. When he was 12, Count Basie invited him to play on stage when he was the pianist for Bennie Moten's band in Colorado Springs and played with them at a dance event. At that time he got his nickname "Sir Charles Thompson" (from Lester Young from the band), under which he later mostly performed. In the 1940s he began to play bebop, recorded with Charlie Parker (e.g. with Parker and Gordon on the album Takin off , Apollo, new with Delmark 1992), Dexter Gordon , J. C. Heard in his own bands and was 1944/45 in the band of Coleman Hawkins and Howard McGhee .

In his own words, he experienced the turning point of bebop compared to swing at the time, especially in the way jazz was presented - was it mainly dance music before, then you went to “jazz concerts” or to clubs. If a good rhythm was important beforehand, Parker and Dizzy Gillespie played “more notes and faster”, which they then called bebop - but for him as a player these terms are “very, very unimportant”. In this interview he cited fewer pianists like Count Basie (whom he called his "mentor") than saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young as direct influences. He later played a lot of solo in bars and with various trios under his name.

Thompson was still active as a pianist in 2004. In 2000 he released the trio recordings Robbins Nest - Live at the Showcase and 2001 I Got Rhythm - Live at the Showcase (both with Delmark Records ) and in 1984 the solo album Portrait of a Piano . He lived in California and from 2002 in Japan with his wife Makiko.

As a composer, he was the author of the Robbins Nest jazz standard . B. Illinois Jacquet interpreted.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Carlo Bohländer , Karl Heinz Holler, Christian Pfarr: Reclams Jazzführer . 3rd, revised and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-15-010355-X .
  2. obituary in Jazz Lives
  3. Interview 2004