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My Playlist: Don Thompson on his personal tastes, from Neil Swainson to Norma Winstone
By
Carole Warren

Published

November 20, 2015

Genre

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If you’re a jazz fan, you already know the name Don Thompson and you know it well. After all, he’s been a major player for more than fifty years, playing bass, piano, vibes, drums -- he's a virtual rhythm section.

Thompson started off on Canada's west coast and eventually moved to Toronto in the late sixties, where he’s lived ever since. He’s played with the who’s who of jazz: Paul Desmond, John Handy, Zoot Sims, Sarah Vaughan, Maynard Ferguson, Kenny Wheeler, Art Farmer, Milt Jackson -- it would almost be easier to come up with a list of artists he hasn't played with.

Thompson was a key member of Rob McConnell's famed group, Boss Brass for a very long time as a bassist, pianist and percussionist. Ditto for jazz great Moe Koffman and his band. He’s also known for his work with guitarists Ed Bickert, Sonny Greenwich, Lenny Breau and Jim Hall. He spent five years in the 1980s touring and recording with pianist George Shearing, often with fellow Canadian Reg Schwager on guitar.

Then, of course, there's his work as a composer and arranger, plus all of his own ensembles. Yet for all that virtuosity, Thompson is also known as one of the nicest guys in the business and is a much loved teacher and mentor to younger players.

He has received many, many awards including a Grammy, three Junos, numerous jazz awards and an Order of Canada.

On this episode of My Playlist, Thompson takes us through the music that matters to him.

Jazz great Don Thompson.
My Playlist: Don Thompson on his personal tastes, from Neil Swainson to Norma Winstone

Don Thompson reveals the stories behind his favourite songs.

Audio