|Birth name||Chester Cortez Thompson|
|Born||December 11, 1948|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
O'Donel Levy (1971–1973)
Frank Zappa / The Mothers of Invention (1973–1975)
Chester Cortez Thompson (born December 11, 1948) is an American drummer best known for his tenures with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and the progressive rock band Genesis.Thompson has performed with his jazz group, the Chester Thompson Trio, since 2011.
Thompson was born on December 11, 1948, in Baltimore, Maryland. He has an older brother, who played in the drum corps.At elementary school, he learned to play the flute and read music. At eleven, Thompson took up the drums, receiving lessons from James Harrison, a professional jazz drummer from whom he learned his rudiments. Thompson practiced by playing along with albums by jazz musicians Miles Davis, Max Roach and Art Blakey. From there, he moved on to studying records by drummer Elvin Jones, whom Thompson cites as a major musical influence along with Tony Williams. While attending high school, he studied privately with drummer and percussionist Tony Ames of the National Symphony Orchestra for one semester. Thompson's practice focused on mastering drumming rudiments using a book published by the National Association of Rudimental Drummers. He started to play his first live gigs two years later in local venues. Still underage, Thompson went as far as to draw a mustache on his upper lip using an eyebrow pencil "because the club owners were worried about me playing there". He played as many as three jam sessions a week.
Among his first major jobs was a short tour, mainly across Canada, with singer Ben E. King.In 1970, he played with organist Jack McDuff, followed by gigs with other local groups, including time in Boston with keyboardist Webster Lewis. In 1971, Thompson returned to Baltimore and studied music at the Community College of Baltimore County for two years, where he learned the flute and coached a basketball team at the Rec Center. He played as part of the house band in a club that supported visiting soul artists. Thompson built a reputation as a session drummer. One of his first bands was Doc "Soul Stirrer" Young and the We Four Trio. Since the early 1970s, Thompson has played with the jazz rock band Air Pocket, a band with the Fowler Brothers at its core.
In 1973, shortly before Thompson was to start a four-year course at another music school, he had auditioned to join Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and won the position.He was a friend of their tour manager, Marty Perellis, also of Baltimore, and landed an audition in Los Angeles after learning of Zappa's wish to use two drummers in his group. Thompson recalled the audition involved him jamming with the band for a solid hour without a break. "We just drifted in and out of so many different kinds of feels and grooves." His time in Zappa's band was challenging because of the leader's "incredibly difficult music" which involved as much as 40 hours of weekly practice for four to six weeks before a tour. Thompson played on several Zappa albums, including Roxy & Elsewhere (1974), One Size Fits All (1975), Studio Tan (1978), Sleep Dirt (1978), and You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2 (1988).
In 1975, Thompson left Zappa after he had cancelled an upcoming Australian tour. Upon returning to Los Angeles Thompson met Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson, who suggested he jam with the band as they sought a new drummer, following the departure of Leon "Ndugu" Chancler.Despite Thompson not wanting to audition, the group had considered Woody Theus but they chose Thompson for the spot. Thompson recalled his time in the band as a "major knock out" because he was a big fan. After playing on Black Market (1976), he left.
After leaving Weather Report, Thompson played recording sessions in Los Angeles and well as part of the San Francisco Broadway theatre production of The Wiz .He was recommended for the gig by his friend Roy McCurdy, and it was there where he met his future wife who had parts in the musical. He also toured as a member of the live band for The Pointer Sisters, and rehearsed with Santana after they expressed an interest in having Thompson join the band.
Shortly after rehearsals with Santana began, Genesis drummer and singer Phil Collins invited Thompson to join the band as their touring drummer, replacing Bill Bruford who wished to move on after one tour.Collins wanted an American drummer for the spot, and heard Thompson's playing on Roxy & Elsewhere which featured Thompson playing in tandem with drummer Ralph Humphrey. Thompson had heard of Genesis's music from Johnson, and agreed to join the band for rehearsals in late 1976 for their upcoming tour supporting Wind & Wuthering (1976). He recalled: "The first day of rehearsal, we just started jamming as everybody was setting up gear, we were just going for it". Thompson looked back on his time joining Genesis as "the biggest adjustment I've ever had to make, musically and culturally.
Thompson performed with Genesis on every tour between 1977 and 1992, and once more for their Turn It On Again: The Tour in 2007.He is featured on the live albums Seconds Out (1977), Three Sides Live (1982), The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts (1992), The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs (1993), and Live over Europe 2007 (2007). After the 1992 tour, Thompson stepped down in order to spend more time with his family. He talked with bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford about the possibility of playing the drums on their final studio album, Calling All Stations (1997). However, since Collins had left the band, Thompson wanted to become a full-time member and not continue as a side man. However, Genesis continued without Thompson for the album and tour.
In addition to Genesis, Thompson was also the touring drummer for Collins's solo tours between 1982 and 2005. He is featured on the live release Serious Hits... Live! (1990).
In 1986, Thompson played the drums on "The Next Time I Fall". The soft rock duet between Peter Cetera and Amy Grant hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 1988, Thompson was invited to play for what turned out to be Zappa's final concert tour before his death. Thompson declined the offer as by this time, he had become a devout Christian and Zappa's anti-religious sentiments and lyrics conflicted with his beliefs.
In 1989, Thompson worked as the drummer for Bee Gees for their One for All World Tour in support for One (1989). He was replaced by Michael Murphy.
He was also a founding member of the band Fire Merchants with Brand X guitarist John Goodsall and bassist Doug Lunn and appeared on their first eponymous recording in 1989. Thompson played drums with Santana in 1984 and is credited in the Beyond Appearances album along with Chester D. Thompson on keyboards.
Thompson continued to work with other members of Genesis on their solo projects. Thompson also plays on the Steve Hackett albums, Please Don't Touch (1978) and Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (1996). Later on, he played on Tony Banks' solo album A Curious Feeling (1979). He also appears on Steve Hackett's live album The Tokyo Tapes released in 1998 which also features John Wetton, Ian McDonald and Julian Colbeck.
In 1992, Thompson and his family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, after liking the area when they visited to attend noted drummer Larrie Londin's funeral.He has since played on sessions for various artists in the area, mainly in jazz, pop, and Christian music.
In 1995, former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett invited Thompson to play on his Genesis project album Genesis Revisited . Thompson was unsure of playing on all of the tracks as initially discussed, and said "we both thought it would be too weird to do the whole album with both of us being sort of ex-Genesis people".Instead, Hackett brought on additional musicians and Thompson plays on just three tracks.
In the late 1990s, Thompson began touring with jazz guitarist Denny Jiosa.In 1999, he released his first solo album, A Joyful Noise. In 2001, Thompson toured Korea with singer and worship leader Ron Kenoly. In January 2002, Thompson performed at the debut charity gig by Collins's Little Dreams Foundation.
Thompson has taught drums at Belmont University in Nashville since 1998,and has also taken classes at the university in composition and arranging. In 2008, he was "two classes away" from earning a degree. He is an adjunct instructor at its school of music.
In 2008, Thompson was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 32nd Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).
Thompson's professional association with Collins ended in 2010, where tensions grew over Collins' dissatisfaction with Thompson's drumming during the Going Back tour. Thompson said that he had not spoken to Collins since. "I was pretty upset. But I'm over it now. I wish him nothing but the best."
In 2011, Thompson formed his jazz group, the Chester Thompson Trio, with pianist Joe Davidian and bassist Mike Rinne. They had initially played together as part of the rhythm section of the Nashville Trombone Festival which was followed by a weekly residency at the Commodore Lounge for over a year. They have released two albums: Approved (2013) and Simpler Times (2015).
In 2021, Thompson said that he no longer teaches drumming at a university, but continues giving private lessons to pupils at a school.
Thompson has endorsed Ludwig Drums (1970-March, 1977), Pearl Drums (April, 1977 - July, 1987), Sonor Drums (1990–1999) and Paiste cymbals (1970–90); he has endorsed DW Drums since 2000 and Sabian cymbals since 1990. He uses Remo drumheads, Meinl Percussion, Gibraltar racks and has his own Regaltip Chester Thompson signature drumstick.
In 1980, Thompson became a Christian. He married his wife whom he first met during his time playing in The Wiz in 1976.They have one son.
With Frank Zappa / Beefheart / Mothers of Invention
With Air Pocket
With Alphonso Johnson
With Weather Report
With Flora Purim
With Steve Hackett
With Tony Banks
With Linda Clifford
With Freddie Hubbard
With Leroy Hutson
With David Pritchard
With Brenda Holloway
With Ahmad Jamal
With Hidehiko Matsumoto
With High Inergy
With Bingo Miki & His Inner Galaxy Orchestra of America
With Johnny Lytle/Albert Dailey/Chester Thompson
With Stefano Sabatini
With Michel Colombier
With Cosmos & Their L.A. Friends
With Fire Merchants
With Phil Collins
With Chris Catena
Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. The band's most commercially successful line-up consists of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. The 1970s line-up featuring singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett was among the pioneers of progressive rock.
Philip David Charles Collins is an English drummer, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor, best known as the drummer/singer of the rock band Genesis and for his solo career. Between 1982 and 1990, Collins achieved three UK and seven US number-one singles in his solo career. When his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totalled, he had more US top 40 singles than any other artist during the 1980s. His most successful singles from the period include "In the Air Tonight", "I Don't Care Anymore", "Against All Odds ", "One More Night", "Sussudio", "Take Me Home", "Two Hearts", "A Groovy Kind of Love", "I Wish It Would Rain Down", and "Another Day in Paradise".
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Stephen Richard Hackett is an English musician, songwriter, singer, and producer who gained prominence as the lead guitarist of the progressive rock band Genesis from 1971 to 1977. Hackett contributed to six Genesis studio albums, three live albums, seven singles and one EP before he left to pursue a solo career. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.
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Wind & Wuthering is the eighth studio album by English progressive rock band Genesis. It was released on 17 December 1976 on Charisma Records and is their last studio album to feature guitarist Steve Hackett. Following the success of their 1976 tour to support their previous album A Trick of the Tail, the group relocated to Hilvarenbeek in the Netherlands to record a follow-up album, their first recorded outside the UK. Writing and recording caused internal friction, for Hackett felt some of his contributions were dropped in favour of material by keyboardist Tony Banks.
...And Then There Were Three... is the ninth studio album by the English rock band Genesis. It was released in March 1978 by Charisma Records and is their first recorded as a trio of singer/drummer Phil Collins, keyboardist Tony Banks, and bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford following the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett. The album marked a change in the band's sound, mixing elements of their progressive rock roots with shorter material, and Collins contributing to more of the group's songwriting.
Duke is the tenth studio album by English rock band Genesis, released in March 1980 on Charisma Records. The album followed a period of inactivity for the band in early 1979. Phil Collins moved to Vancouver, Canada, in an effort to salvage his failing first marriage, while Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford recorded solo albums. Collins returned to the UK after his marriage ended and wrote a significant amount of material, some of which was used for Duke and some was later reworked for his first solo album, Face Value. Duke contained a mix of individually-written songs and tracks that evolved from jam sessions in mid-1979, while recording took place at the end of the year. The break in activity rejuvenated the band, and they found the album an easy one to work on.
Daryl Mark Stuermer is an American musician, songwriter, and producer best known for playing the guitar and bass for Genesis during live shows, and lead guitar for Phil Collins during most solo tours and albums. He has also released nine solo albums, and tours with his Daryl Stuermer Band.
Alphonso Johnson is an American jazz bassist active since the early 1970s. Johnson was a member of the influential jazz fusion group Weather Report from 1973 to 1975, and has performed and recorded with numerous high-profile rock and jazz acts including Santana, Phil Collins, members of the Grateful Dead, and Chet Baker.
Double drumming is a musical technique, used mostly in rock music, where two drummers each play a drum kit at the same time. One may play the rhythm while the other may play another style, or both may play the same rhythm. It is more common to have a main drummer with an auxiliary percussionist who plays Latin American percussion, toms, or mallet percussion, but this is not considered "double drumming".
Live – The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts is the fourth live album by the English rock band Genesis, released in November 1992 on Virgin Records in the United Kingdom and by Atlantic Records in the United States. The album features a compilation of recordings from their 1986–1987 Invisible Touch Tour and their 1992 We Can't Dance Tour in support of their named studio albums, with focus on the group's hit singles. In addition to the core Genesis line-up of singer/drummer Phil Collins, keyboardist Tony Banks, and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford, the group perform with their longtime touring musicians, drummer Chester Thompson and guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer.
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Turn It On Again: The Tour was a 2007 concert tour of Europe and North America by the 1977-1996 lineup of the English rock band Genesis. The tour was notable for the return of drummer and vocalist Phil Collins, who had fronted the band during their most commercially successful period before leaving in 1996, rejoining founder members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, with their traditional on-stage musicians, Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer.
The Wind & Wuthering Tour was an English, North American, South American and European concert tour by the English rock band Genesis.
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