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    Thigpen, Ed (28th December 1930–13th January 2010)

    Drummer from Chicago, Illinois, who went to the same high school as Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon and Chico Hamilton, and went on to enjoy similar success.  Upon graduation, he enrolled in L.A. City College with the intent to study sociology, but music beckoned.  He moved eastward piecemeal, stopping off for a short time to live with his dad, also a drummer, in St. Louis, Missouri. 


    In 1951, he completed the second half of his journey to the Big Apple, and found work quickly with Cootie Williams at The Savoy Ballroom.  He stayed with this group until 1952 and band-hopped to and fro, betwixt and between Jutta Hipp, Johnny Hodges, Bud Powell, and Lennie Tristano.  He even served briefly in the armed services.  Upon release, he hooked up with Dinah Washington.  Between 1956 and 1959, he was a member of The Billy Taylor Trio.  In 1959, he changed bands once again, this time joining the newly re-formed Oscar Peterson Trio.  The trio recorded an astounding 50+ albums in a span of six years. 


    In 1966, Ed released an album under his own name, Out of the Storm, on the Verve label.  Then he moved back to L.A. in 1967 and concentrated on session work.  It did not keep him off the road for long, however.  Ed spent much of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s on tour with Ella Fitzgerald. 


    In 1972, he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Living in Europe allowed him to play with a cosmopolitan mix of artists such as Monty Alexander, Sven Asmussen, Alice Babs, Kenny Drew, Milt Jackson, Thad Jones, Clark Terry, Sylvia Vrethammer, and Ernie Wilkins. 


    He also made his mark on music education, teaching at Copenhagen’s Rhythmic Conservatory and writing several books, including Be Our Guest (with bassist Ray Brown), Ed Thigpen Talking Drums, Rhythm Analysis and Basic Coordination, and The Sound of Brushes. 


    In 2002, he received the Humanitarian Award from the International Association of Jazz Education, and was enshrined in The Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.  One of his last live appearances was at The Copenhagen Jazzfestival on 1st July 2008.  He passed away in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 13th January 2010 when he was 80 years old.



    1. http://www.edthigpen.com
    2. http://www.amazon.com/Ed-Thigpen/e/B000AQ31PK
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Thigpen
    4. http://www.pas.org/About/HOFMain.cfm












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