Don Thompson (musician)

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Donald Thompson
Don Thompson.jpg
Photo courtesy of the Fraser MacPherson estate
Background information
Birth name Donald Winston Thompson
Born (1940-01-18) 18 January 1940 (age 77)
Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician

Donald Winston Thompson, OC[1] (born 18 January 1940) is a Canadian jazz musician who plays double bass, piano, and vibes.[2] Thompson formed part of the Toronto Quartet of Paul Desmond during the mid seventies, and that effort produced two albums. Other personnel on those dates, mostly at Bourbon Street in Toronto, were Toronto guitarist Ed Bickert and drummer Jerry Fuller. Thompson has been a fixture on the Toronto jazz scene since the late 1960s when he moved there from British Columbia. Thompson played for a long time in Rob McConnell's Boss Brass.

Biography[edit]

Thompson was born 18 January 1940 Powell River, British Columbia, Canada.

He lived in Vancouver from 1960 to 1965, working as a freelance musician primarily on bass. He has appeared with jazz troupes led by Vancouver musicians such as Dave Robbins, Chris Gage and Fraser MacPherson, as well as leading his own musical groups. In addition to appearing regularly on CBC radio, he was also on television as a featured artist.

In 1965 he joined the John Handy Quintet and moved to San Francisco for a two-year stay. During that time the Handy Quintet performed extensively throughout the United States and recorded two albums for the Columbia label. One of these, Recorded Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival, became one of the most popular jazz albums of the 1960s.[citation needed] While in San Francisco Thompson also worked with Frank Rosolino, Maynard Ferguson, Denny Zeitlin and George Duke.

He returned to Canada in 1967 and has been a resident of Toronto since 1969. In that year he joined Rob McConnell's BOSS BRASS as a percussionist, switching to bass in 1971 and later to piano (1987–1993). He was also a member of Moe Koffman's group from 1970 to 1979 as pianist or bassist, contributing arrangements and compositions and working as co-producer with Koffman on two albums, Museum Pieces and Looking Up. He also worked extensively with guitarists Ed Bickert, Lenny Breau and Sonny Greenwich while keeping busy with his own various projects.

As a member of the "house rhythm section" at Toronto's Bourbon Street Jazz Club he worked with Paul Desmond, Jim Hall, Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, James Moody, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry, Harry Edison, Frank Rosolino, Slide Hampton, Lee Konitz and Abbey Lincoln, and appeared at other venues with Sarah Vaughan, Red Rodney, Joe Henderson, Dewey Redman, Red Mitchell, Sheila Jordan and Kenny Wheeler.

He became a member of guitarist Jim Hall's trio in 1974, travelling to Europe and Japan as well as touring the United States and Canada. In 1982 he joined pianist George Shearing and stayed for a five-year period during which he appeared at virtually every major jazz club and festival in the United States. Their travels also included tours of Great Britain and two trips to Brazil.

In 1996 he was artist in residence at the Royal Academy of Music, London, England, and performed in a concert of all-Canadian music with fellow Canadians Kenny Wheeler and Hugh Fraser. He teaches regularly at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts along with other major international musicians.

Thompson is currently[when?] working as a freelance musician, teacher, member of the band JMOG and as leader of his own quartet.

He is equally at home on vibes, piano, bass and drums, and is a sound engineer with his own home-studio.

Awards[edit]

  • Juno Award, Best Jazz Album, 1979, 1984
  • Juno Award, Best Traditional Jazz Album, 2006
  • Vibraphonist of the Year, Jazz Report, 1993–1997
  • Composer of the Year, Jazz Report, 1994
  • Original Jazz Composition, Socan, 1994
  • Order of Canada, Officer, 2009[1]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

  • Love Song for a Virgo Lady (Sackville)
  • Country Place (PM)
  • Ed Bickert/Don Thompson (Sackville)
  • Don Thompson/Ed Bickert (Sackville)
  • Days Gone By (Atlas)
  • Beautiful Friendship (Concord)
  • Witchcraft (Justin Time)
  • Circles (Intercan)
  • Bells (Umbrella)
  • Winter Mist (Jazz Alliance)
  • For Kenny Wheeler (Sackville)
  • Forgotten Memories (Roadhouse)

As co-leader[edit]

  • JMOG (Sackville)
  • Opus D'Amour (Sackville)

As sideman[edit]

With Jim Hall

  • Jim Hall Live! (A&M Horizon, 1975)
  • Commitment (A&M Horizon, 1975)
  • Jazz Impressions of Japan (A&M)
  • Live in Tokyo (Paddlewheel)
  • Circles (Concord)
  • Live at Town Hall (Musicmasters)

With John Handy

With Paul Desmond

  • Like Someone in Love (Telarchive)
  • Paul Desmond (Artists House)

With Jay McShann

  • Man from Muskogee (Sackville)
  • Tuxedo Junction (Sackville)
  • Just a Lucky So and So (Sackville)
  • Swingmatism (Sackville)

With Buddy Tate

  • The Ballad Artistry (Sackville)
  • Saturday Night Function (Sackville All Stars) (Sackville)

With Frank Rosolino

  • Thinking of You (Sackville, 2014)

With George Shearing

With George Shearing and Mel Tormé

With Rob McConnell

  • Big Band Jazz (Umbrella)
  • Again (Umbrella)
  • Present Perfect (MPD)
  • Tribute (Pausa)
  • Live in Digital (SeaBreeze)
  • The Brass is Back (Concord)
  • Brassy and Sassy (Concord)
  • Our 25th Year (Concord)
  • Three for the Road (Concord)

With Sonny Greenwich

  • The Old Man and the Child (Sackville)
  • Sun Song (CBC)
  • Evol-lution Love's Reverse (PM)

With Pat LaBarbera

  • Pass it On (PM)
  • Necessary Evil (CBC)

With Emily Remler

  • Take Two (Concord)

With Dave Liebman

  • Sweet Fury (BeBop to Now)

With Bill King

  • The Jazz Report All Stars (Radioland)

With Moe Koffman

  • Solar Explorations (GRT)
  • Museum Pieces (GRT)
  • Master Sessions (GRT)

With Diana Panton

  • ...Yesterday Perhaps (2005)
  • If The Moon Turns Green (2007)
  • Pink (2009)
  • To Brazil With Love (2011)
  • Christmas Kiss (2012)
  • Red (2013)
  • I Believe In Little Things (2015)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Donald Winston Thompson, O.C.". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Cross, Dan. "Biography: Don Thompson". AMG. Retrieved 8 May 2010.