picture of Charles Thompson
Sir Charles Thompson
Charles (* 1918 in Springfield, OH) first studied violin and briefly played tenor saxophone, but took up piano as a teenager." He moved with his family to Parsons, Kansas. Later Thompson attended a Kansas City high school.
 
By the age of twelve, Thompson was playing private parties with Bennie Moten and his band in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During this time Count Basie played off and on with Moten's band. During a show Basie called the young Charles up to play. He was dubbed Sir Charles Thompson by Lester Young.
 
Charles chiefly worked with small groups, including the Coleman Hawkins/Howard McGhee sextet in 1944-1945. Throughout the 1940s he played and recorded with Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis and J.C. Heard, among others. He played with Lucky Millinder's big band in 1946, and under Illinois Jacquet in 1947-48 and 1952.
 
He worked freelance, principally on organ, for much of the 1950s. He played with Parker again in 1953 and recorded with Vic Dickenson and Buck Clayton in 1953-54. Charles worked with Earl Bostic in the late 1950s before heading his own quartet in 1959.
 
In the early 1960s he toured Europe and Canada with Buck Clayton. Charles was in Europe again in 1964, with Jazz at the Philharmonic, and in 1967 for the show Jazz from a Swinging Era. Living variously on the West Coast, where he often worked with Vernon Alley, and in Toronto, Paris, and Zürich, he continued to lead small groups through the 1970s and 1980s. He composed the jazz standard "Robbins' Nest".
 
Charles died in 2016 at the age of 98.
 
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Discography
Sir Charles Thompson And The Swing Organ
Columbia CS 8205
recorded in New York City
released 1959

Sir Charles Thompson, organ
Rudy Rutherford, clarinet
Percy France, sax tenor
Aaron Bell, bass
J.C. Heard, drums
Rockin' Rhythm
Columbia CS 8463
released 1961

Sir Charles Thompson, organ
Joe Puma, guitar
Tiny Grimes, guitar
John Pizzarelli, guitar
Skeeter Best, guitar
Aaron Bell, bass
Charles Wellesley, bass
J.C. Heard, drums
Teo Macero, drums
Oliver Jackson jr., drums
Sweet And Lovely
Black And Blue 33.142
released November 1977

Sir Charles Thompson, organ, piano
Sam Woodyard, drums
The Complete Blue Note 45 Session
Blue Note 11441
recorded September 1960 in Hackensack, NJ/USA
Ike Quebec, tenor sax
Sir Charles Thomson, organ
Milt Hinton, bass
J.C. Heard, drums

 
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