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Don Thompson Don Thompson

Don (Donald Winston) Thompson. Pianist, bassist, vibraphonist, drummer, composer, arranger, recording engineer, b Powell River, north of Vancouver, 18 Jan 1940. After childhood piano lessons he took up the string bass and the vibraphone in his teens. He is essentially self-taught on all instruments. In Vancouver 1960-5 he was sideman to Chris Gage (playing bass or vibraphone) and Dave Robbins (bass) and accompanied the visiting US jazzmen Barney Kessel, John Handy, and others in local nightclubs. With the drummer Terry Clarke he joined Handy's quintet in the USA in 1965, touring widely and making two LPs, one of which, Live at Monterey, was among the most popular jazz recordings of the 1960s.

Thompson returned to Vancouver in 1967 (after working briefly in Montreal with Lee Gagnon that year) and then moved to Toronto in 1969. He quickly became that city's first-call studio bassist, a standing he maintained until he turned exclusively to jazz in the mid-1970s.

Thompson has been a member of the Boss Brass (bassist 1969-82 and pianist as of 1988) and the bands of Sonny Greenwich (pianist 1970-82 and again as of 1990) and Moe Koffman (bassist 1970-4 and pianist 1975-8). He also played bass or drums for Lenny Breau and has maintained a lengthy association with the guitarist Ed Bickert in various jazz settings. Thompson's work as a bassist at the Toronto jazz club Bourbon Street with (among others) the US guitarist Jim Hall and the US alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, documented by live recordings there in 1975 (for which Thompson served as recording engineer), renewed his international profile. In 1976 he began touring with Hall (Japan, the USA and Europe) and 1982-7 he was concert partner to the celebrated British pianist George Shearing, with whom he played both bass and piano. He was the sole accompanist to Shearing and the singer Mel Tormé on Top Drawer, winner of a (US) Grammy award in 1984. While working with Shearing, he began to teach each summer at the Banff CA Jazz Workshop in 1982, and established the short-lived record label, From Bebop to Now, in 1983.

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Bass

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Don Thompson Concerts

Date Detail Price
Oct30Fri
Neil Swainson
The Jazz Room
Waterloo, Canada
15.00 CAD

Albums

Album The Complete 1975 Toronto Recordings by Paul Desmond

The Complete 1975...

Mosaic Records
2020

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Album One Take Volume Three by Don Thompson

One Take Volume Three

Alma Records
2007

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Album Ask Me Later by Don Thompson

Ask Me Later

CBC Records
2006

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