Thompson, “Sir” Charles

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Thompson, “Sir” Charles

Thompson, “Sir” Charles, jazz pianist, organist, composer; b. Springfield, Ohio, March 21, 1918. He started on violin but switched to piano as a young teenager. From the mid-1930s he freelanced with Lloyd Hunter (1936), Nat Towles (1937), Lionel Hampton (1940), Lee and Lester Young’s Band at Café Society, Manhattan (1942), Coleman Hawkins in Calif. (1944-45), and Illinois Jacquet (1947-48). He composed “Robbing Nest,” which was a major hit for Jacquet. He also did arranging for Count Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and Fletcher Henderson. He lived briefly in Cleveland from 1948-49, then returned to N.Y., where he worked as an organist through the 1950s, both leading various groups of “All-Stars” and on his own as a soloist. He first toured Europe in 1959, and continued to work abroad on various occasions through the mid-1960s. He was less active from 1964-74, but then returned to performing in 1975. In the early 1990s, he married a Japanese native, and the couple moved to Japan in 1992 where he continued to work in clubs. Lester Young reputedly “knighted” him Sir.


“Takin’ Off” (1945); Sir Charles Thompson and His All Stars (1951); Bop This (1953); Sir Charles Thompson Sextet (1953); Sir Charles Thompson Quartet (1954); With Coleman Hawkins (1954); Sir Charles Thompson Trio (1955); Rockin Rhythm (1961); Hey, There! (1974); Midnight Shows, Vol. 8 (1977); For the Ears(1980).

—Lewis Porter

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Thompson, “Sir” Charles

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