Ed Thigpen

Ed Thigpen

born on 28/12/1930 in Chicago, IL, United States

died on 13/1/2010 in Kopenhagen, Hovedstaden, Denmark

Ed Thigpen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Edmund Leonard Thigpen (December 28, 1930 – January 13, 2010) was an American jazz drummer, best known for his work with the Oscar Peterson trio from 1959 to 1965. Thigpen also performed with the Billy Taylor trio from 1956 to 1959.


Born in Chicago, Illinois, Thigpen was raised in Los Angeles and attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon and Chico Hamilton also attended. After majoring in sociology at Los Angeles City College, Thigpen returned to East St. Louis for one year to pursue music while living with his father who had been playing with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy.[1] His father, Ben Thigpen, was a drummer who played with Andy Kirk for sixteen years during the 1930s and 1940s.

Thigpen first worked professionally in New York City with the Cootie Williams orchestra from 1951 to 1952 at the Savoy Ballroom. During this time he played with musicians such as Dinah Washington, Gil Mellé, Oscar Pettiford, Eddie Vinson, Paul Quinichette, Ernie Wilkins, Charlie Rouse, Lennie Tristano, Jutta Hipp, Johnny Hodges, Dorothy Ashby, Bud Powell, and Billy Taylor.

In 1959 he replaced guitarist Herb Ellis in the Oscar Peterson Trio in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 1961 he recorded in Los Angeles, featuring on the Teddy EdwardsHoward McGhee Quintet album entitled Together Again for the Contemporary label with Phineas Newborn Jr. and Ray Brown. After leaving Peterson, Thigpen recorded the album Out of the Storm as a leader for Verve in 1966. He then went on to tour with Ella Fitzgerald from 1967 to 1972.[2]

In 1974 Thigpen moved to Copenhagen, joining several other American jazz musicians who had settled in that city over the previous two decades. There he worked with fellow American expatriates, including Kenny Drew, Ernie Wilkins, Thad Jones, as well as leading Danish jazz musicians such as Svend Asmussen, Mads Vinding, Alex Riel and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. He also played with a variety of other leading musicians of the time, such as Clark Terry, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Milt Jackson and Monty Alexander.

Thigpen died peacefully after a brief period in Hvidovre Hospital in Copenhagen on January 13, 2010.[3] He is buried at Vestre Kirkegård.

Awards and recognition

Thigpen was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2002.[4]


As leader

Stunt Records
  • 1990: Easy Flight
  • 1998: It's Entertainment
  • 2002: Element of Swing
  • 2004: #1

As sideman

With Gene Ammons

  • Velvet Soul (Prestige, 1962 [1964])
  • Angel Eyes (Prestige, 1962 [1965])
  • Sock! (Prestige, 1962, [1965])

With Dorothy Ashby

  • The Jazz Harpist (Regent, 1957)

With Kenny Burrell

  • Earthy (Prestige, 1957)

With Kenny Drew

  • Your Soft Eyes (Soul Note, 1981)

With Art Farmer

With Dexter Gordon

  • More Than You Know (SteepleChase, 1975)

With Johnny Griffin

  • Blues for Harvey (SteepleChase, 1973)

with Jutta Hipp

  • At the Hickory House Volume 1 (1956)
  • At the Hickory House Volume 2 (1956)
  • Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims (1956)

With Duke Jordan

  • Flight to Denmark (SteepleChase, 1973 [1974])
  • Two Loves (SteepleChase, 1973 [1975])
  • Truth (SteepleChase, 1975 [1983])

With Mundell Lowe

  • A Grand Night for Swinging (Riverside, 1957)

With Howard McGhee and Teddy Edwards

  • Together Again!!!! (Contemporary, 1961)

with Gil Mellé

  • Patterns in Jazz (1956; Blue Note)
  • Primitive Modern (Prestige, 1956)
  • Gil's Guests (1957; Prestige)

with Oscar Pettiford

  • Winner's Circle (1957; Bethlehem)

with Oscar Peterson

  • Oscar Peterson Plays "My Fair Lady" (1958, Verve)
  • Sonny Stitt Sits in with the Oscar Peterson Trio (1958, Verve)
  • A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra (1959, Verve)
  • The Jazz Soul of Oscar Peterson (1959, Verve)
  • Porgy and Bess (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Duke Ellington Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the George Gershwin Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Richard Rodgers Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Cole Porter Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Harry Warren Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Irving Berlin Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Harold Arlen Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays the Jimmy McHugh Songbook (1959, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Plays Porgy & Bess (1959, Verve)
  • Swinging Brass with the Oscar Peterson Trio (1959, Verve)
  • Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (1959, Verve)
  • Live from Chicago (1961, Verve)
  • Night Train (1962, Verve)
  • Affinity (1962, Verve)
  • West Side Story (1962, Verve)
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio in Tokyo 1964 (1964; Pablo)
  • We Get Requests (1964, Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson Trio + One with Clark Terry (1964, Verve)
  • I/We Had a Ball (Limelight, 1965) - 1 track
  • Eloquence (1965, Limelight)
  • Oscar Peterson with Clark Terry (1982, Mercury Jazz Masters)

With Paul Quinichette

  • On the Sunny Side (Prestige, 1957)

with Teddy Charles

  • Salute to Hamp (1958; Bethlehem)

with Tony Ortega

  • Jazz for Young Moderns (1958, 1959; Bethlehem)

with Frank Minion

  • The Soft Land of Make Believe (1959; Bethlehem)

with Teddy EdwardsHoward McGhee Quintet

  • Howard McGhee/Teddy Edwards – Together Again! (Contemporary M 3588, S 7588; Fantasy OJC 424, OJCCD 424-2)

with Ella Fitzgerald:

  • Ella in Budapest, Hungary (1970; Pablo)
  • Ella à Nice (1971; Pablo Live)
  • Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72 (1972; Pablo)
  • Ella Loves Cole (1972; Atlantic), reissued as "Dream Dancing (1978; Pablo)

with Horace Parlan

With Charlie Rouse and Paul Quinichette

  • The Chase Is On (Bethlehem, 1958)

With Billy Taylor

  • My Fair Lady Loves Jazz (ABC-Paramount, 1957)
  • The New Billy Taylor Trio (ABC-Paramount, 1957)
  • The Billy Taylor Touch (Atlantic, 1957)
  • Taylor Made Jazz (Argo, 1959)

with Paul Quinichette and Charlie Rouse

  • "The Chase Is On" (1957; Bethlehem)
  • When The Blues Comes On, Pt. 1&2 (1957; Bethlehem)

with Eddie Vinson

  • Cleanhead's Back in Town (1957; Bethlehem)

With Frank Wess

  • Jazz for Playboys (Savoy, 1957)

With Webster Young

  • For Lady (Prestige, 1957)

with Svend Asmussen

  • As Time Goes By (1978; Sonet Records)

with Jack van Poll:

  • Cat's Groove (1988; September Records)

with Oliver Jones:

with John Lindberg, Albert Mangelsdorff & Eric Watson:

  • Quartet Afterstorm (1994; Black Saint)

with Eric Watson and Mark Dresser:

  • Silent Hearts (2001; Sunnyside Records)

with Ernie Wilkins on the Everest label:

  • Everest Years (CD; 1959, 1960; 2005; VI Music)

with Kresten Osgood

  • Sound (vinyl; 2011; Ilk Records)


  1. ^ Werner, Jesse (February 10, 2010). "Jazz drummer Ed Thigpen dies at 79". World Socialist Web Site. International Committee of the Fourth International.
  2. ^ Keepnews, Peter (January 26, 2010). "Ed Thigpen, Jazz Drummer, Dies at 79". The New York Times. p. B17.
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