My enthusiasm for Sir Charles Thompson goes back many years to a time when my father first called my attention to his play on a 10 inch Vanguard. I've always enjoyed his sparse, linear style (reminiscent of Basie) that at first sounds bop-ish, is richly influenced by Hines, Tatum, Wilson and Garner, and melds into an approach that is uniquely his own. Although I located a few of his recordings (backing up others, for the most part), it was clear that he was seriously under-recorded for many years. In 1984, I was surprised to see a solo LP released by Sackville Records, "Portrait Of A Piano," and just as pleased that Sir Charles still had great chops. That find, and a subsequent exchange of correspondence and conversations, encouraged me to renew my interest in collecting and documenting his work. I am tremendously indebted to my friends John Chadwick and Michael Steinman for having shared many notes and copies of Sir Charles' music that were absent from my collection. I also wish to thank William Damm for the extensive information that he contributed, adding considerable clarity and depth to the discography.
Coincident with my collection activities, I also found a means of cataloging my jazz collection and producing a discography through Steve Albin's groundbreaking freeware programs. With that encouragement, I decided to publish what information I have, with the hope that others would add to it. I am keenly aware that some of the session and album issue detail is spotty, but then, most of my source information comes from liner notes and this is an area where most record companies do not shine. Again, I welcome any clarification that can improve my data.
On March 21, 1998, Sir Charles celebrated his 80th birthday. He still plays a mean game of golf and still has not lost those great chops. In a small way, this discography is my tribute to the Great Man.
Original artwork by Matt Gallagher
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Here's a list of instrument abbreviations I use in my discographies.
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