The elegantly nicknamed Sir Charles Thompson was one of the few musicians associated with swing who was able to make a graceful, wholehearted transition to bop at the time the revolution was happening. His piano style is light-fingered and spare in a witty, inventive, Basie-descended bop manner, and he was able to adapt it effectively to the organ. Thompson's first instrument was the violin, but the piano beckoned when he was a teenager, and he started working with territory bands in the midwest in the late 1930s. He briefly joined Lionel Hampton in 1940, but left in order to work with small groups and contribute arrangements to Basie, Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Jimmy Dorsey, and other bands. While working in New York's 52nd St. clubs during World War II, he began to pick up on the beginnings of bop. In 1944-1945, Thompson played in ...
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