Lucky Thompson

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Lucky Thompson_table_infobox_0

Lucky ThompsonLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_1_0
Birth nameLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_2_0 Eli ThompsonLucky Thompson_cell_0_2_1
BornLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_3_0 (1924-06-16)June 16, 1924

Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.Lucky Thompson_cell_0_3_1

OriginLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_4_0 Detroit, Michigan, U.S.Lucky Thompson_cell_0_4_1
DiedLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_5_0 July 30, 2005(2005-07-30) (aged 81)

Seattle, Washington, U.S.Lucky Thompson_cell_0_5_1

GenresLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_6_0 JazzLucky Thompson_cell_0_6_1
Occupation(s)Lucky Thompson_header_cell_0_7_0 MusicianLucky Thompson_cell_0_7_1
InstrumentsLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_8_0 Lucky Thompson_cell_0_8_1
Years activeLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_9_0 1942–1970sLucky Thompson_cell_0_9_1
Associated actsLucky Thompson_header_cell_0_10_0 Lucky Thompson_cell_0_10_1

Eli "Lucky" Thompson (June 16, 1924 – July 30, 2005) was an American jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist whose playing combined elements of swing and bebop. Lucky Thompson_sentence_0

While John Coltrane usually receives the most credit for bringing the soprano saxophone out of obsolescence in the early 1960s, Thompson (along with Steve Lacy) embraced the instrument earlier than Coltrane. Lucky Thompson_sentence_1

Early life Lucky Thompson_section_0

Thompson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and moved to Detroit, Michigan, during his childhood. Lucky Thompson_sentence_2

Thompson had to raise his siblings after his mother died, and he practiced saxophone fingerings on a broom handle before acquiring his first instrument. Lucky Thompson_sentence_3

He joined Erskine Hawkins' band in 1942 upon graduating from high school. Lucky Thompson_sentence_4

Career Lucky Thompson_section_1

After playing with the swing orchestras of Lionel Hampton, Don Redman, Billy Eckstine (alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker), Lucky Millinder, and Count Basie, he worked in rhythm and blues and then established a career in bebop and hard bop, working with Kenny Clarke, Miles Davis, Gillespie and Milt Jackson. Lucky Thompson_sentence_5

Ben Ratliff notes that Thompson "connected the swing era to the more cerebral and complex bebop style. Lucky Thompson_sentence_6

His sophisticated, harmonically abstract approach to the tenor saxophone built off that of Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins; he played with beboppers, but resisted Charlie Parker's pervasive influence." Lucky Thompson_sentence_7

He showed these capabilities as sideman on many albums recorded during the mid-1950s, such as Stan Kenton's Cuban Fire! Lucky Thompson_sentence_8 , and those under his own name. Lucky Thompson_sentence_9

He recorded with Parker (on two Los Angeles Dial Records sessions) and on Miles Davis's hard bop Walkin' session. Lucky Thompson_sentence_10

Thompson recorded albums as leader for ABC Paramount and Prestige and as a sideman on records for Savoy Records with Jackson as leader. Lucky Thompson_sentence_11

Thompson was strongly critical of the music business, later describing promoters, music producers and record companies as "parasites" or "vultures". Lucky Thompson_sentence_12

This, in part, led him to move to Paris, where he lived and made several recordings between 1957 and 1962. Lucky Thompson_sentence_13

During this time, he began playing soprano saxophone. Lucky Thompson_sentence_14

Thompson returned to New York, then lived in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 1968 until 1970, and recorded several albums there including A Lucky Songbook in Europe. Lucky Thompson_sentence_15

He taught at Dartmouth College in 1973 and 1974, then completely left the music business. Lucky Thompson_sentence_16

Later life Lucky Thompson_section_2

Thompson whereabouts after the mid 1970s was unclear, he is believed to have lived briefly on Manitoulin Island in Canada and Savannah, Georgia. Lucky Thompson_sentence_17

In his last years he lived in Seattle, Washington. Lucky Thompson_sentence_18

Acquaintances reported that Thompson was homeless by the early 1990s, and lived as a hermit. Lucky Thompson_sentence_19

Thompson died from Alzheimer's disease in an assisted living facility on July 30, 2005. Lucky Thompson_sentence_20

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Lucky Thompson among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. Lucky Thompson_sentence_21

Family Lucky Thompson_section_3

Thompson was married to Thelma Thompson, who died in 1963. Lucky Thompson_sentence_22

Thompson's son, guitarist Daryl Thompson, played with Peter Tosh and Black Uhuru before embarking on a jazz career in the late 1980s. Lucky Thompson_sentence_23

Thompson also had a daughter, Jade Thompson-Fredericks, and two grandchildren. Lucky Thompson_sentence_24

Discography Lucky Thompson_section_4

As leader/co-leader Lucky Thompson_section_5

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As sideman Lucky Thompson_section_6

With Louis Armstrong Lucky Thompson_sentence_25

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With Harry Arnold Lucky Thompson_sentence_26

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  • Guest Book (Metronome, 1961)Lucky Thompson_item_2_20

With Art Blakey Lucky Thompson_sentence_27

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  • Soul Finger (Limelight, 1965)Lucky Thompson_item_3_21

With Benny Carter Lucky Thompson_sentence_28

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  • A Man Called Adam (Reprise, 1965)Lucky Thompson_item_4_22

With Kenny Clarke Lucky Thompson_sentence_29

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  • Kenny Clarke Plays Pierre Michelot (Columbia, 1957)Lucky Thompson_item_5_23

With Jimmy Cleveland Lucky Thompson_sentence_30

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With Johnny Dankworth Lucky Thompson_sentence_31

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  • The Zodiac Variations (Fontana, 1964)Lucky Thompson_item_7_25

With Miles Davis Lucky Thompson_sentence_32

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  • Walkin' (Prestige, 1954)Lucky Thompson_item_8_26

With Dizzy Gillespie Lucky Thompson_sentence_33

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With Milt Jackson Lucky Thompson_sentence_34

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With Quincy Jones Lucky Thompson_sentence_35

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With Stan Kenton Lucky Thompson_sentence_36

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With John Lewis Lucky Thompson_sentence_37

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With Thelonious Monk Lucky Thompson_sentence_38

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With Oscar Pettiford Lucky Thompson_sentence_39

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With Ralph Sharon Lucky Thompson_sentence_40

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  • Around the World in Jazz (Rama, 1957)Lucky Thompson_item_16_41

With Martial Solal Lucky Thompson_sentence_41

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  • Martial Solal et Son Grand Orchestre (Swing, 1957)Lucky Thompson_item_17_42

With Dinah Washington Lucky Thompson_sentence_42

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Sources: Lucky Thompson_sentence_43

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Thompson.