Donald Thompson was born in Powell River, British Columbia, Canada on January 18th 1940.

He lived in Vancouver from 1960 to 1965 working as a freelance musician primarily on bass. He appeared with groups led by some of Vancouver's finest musicians such as Dave Robbins, Chris Gage and Fraser McPherson, as well as leading his own groups. He also appeared regularly on CBC Radio and Television as a featured artist and band leader.

In 1965 he joined the now legendary John Handy Quintet and moved to San Francisco for a two year stay. During that time the Handy Quintet performed extensively throughout the United States and recorded two albums for the Columbia label. One of these, "John Handy live at the Monterey Jazz Festival", became one of the most popular jazz albums of the 1960's. (Now available on CD). Whilst in San Francisco Don also worked with Frank Rosolino, Maynard Ferguson, Denny Zeitlin and George Duke.

He returned to Canada in 1967 and has been a resident of Toronto since 1969. In that year he joined Rob McConnell's BOSS BRASS as a percussionist, switching to bass in 1971 and later to piano 1987 - 1993). He was also a member of Moe Koffman's group from 1970 to 1979 as pianist or bassist, contributing arrangements and compositions and working as co-producer with Koffman on two albums - "Museum Pieces" and "Looking Up". He also worked extensively with guitarists Ed Bickert, Lenny Breau and Sonny Greenwich while keeping busy with his own various projects.

As a member of the "house rhythm section" at Toronto's Bourbon Street Jazz Club he worked (and recorded *) with such Jazz Celebrities as Paul Desmond *, Jim Hall *, Milt Jackson *, Art Farmer, James Moody, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry, Harry Edison, Frank Rosolino *, Slide Hampton, Lee Konitz and Abbey Lincoln, and appeared at other venues with Sarah Vaughan, Red Rodney, Joe Henderson, Dewey Redman, Red Mitchell, Sheila Jordan and Kenny Wheeler.

He became a member of guitarist Jim Hall's trio in 1974 travelling to Europe and Japan as well as touring the United States and Canada. In 1982 he joined pianist George Shearing and stayed for a five year period during which he appeared at virtually every major jazz club and festival in the United States. Their travels also included tours of Great Britain and two trips to Brazil.

In 1996 he was artist in residence at the Royal Academy of Music, London, England, and performed in a concert of all - Canadian music with fellow Canadians Kenny Wheeler and Hugh Fraser. He teaches regularly at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts along with other major international musicians.

Don is currently working as a free-lance musician, teacher, member of the band JMOG and as leader of his own Quartet.

He is equally at home on vibes, piano, bass and drums, and is a reliable and trusted sound engineer (has his own studio in his home).


1979 Juno - Best Jazz album - duo with Ed Bickert.

1984 Juno - Best Jazz Album.

1993 Jazz Report - Vibraphonist of the Year.

1994 Jazz Report - Composer of the Year.

1994 Jazz Report - Vibraphonist of the Year.

1994 Socan - Original Jazz Composition.

1995 Jazz Report - Vibraphonist of the Year.

1996 Jazz Report - Vibraphonist of the Year.

1997 Jazz Report - Vibraphonist of the Year.


As Leader:
Love Song for a Virgo LadySackville 2003
Country PlacePM PMR 008
Ed Bickert/Don Thompson Sackville 4005
Don Thompson/Ed Bickert Sackville 4010
Days Gone By Atlas LA 27 1019
Beautiful Friendship Concord CJ 243
WitchcraftJustin Time Just 16-2
Circles Intercan ICI008
Bells Umbrella GEN 1-16
Winter Mist Jazz Alliance TJA 10004

As Co-Leader:
JMOG Sackville CD2 - 2031
Opus D'Amour Sackville CD2 - 3058

As Sideman:

with Jim Hall:
Jim Hall Live A&M Horizon SP 705
Commitment A&M Horizon SP 715
Jazz Impressions of Japan A&M GXU-1
Live in Tokyo Paddlewheel - GP3217
Circles Concord CJ 161
Live at Town Hall Musicmasters - 5050 2-C

with John Handy:
Live at Monterey Koch KOC 3-7820-2
The Second AlbumColumbia CS 9367
Live at Yoshi's Nightspot Boulevard BLD 531 DCD

with Paul Desmond:
Like Someone in Love Telarchive CD 83319

with Jay McShann:
Man from Muskogee Sackville SKCD2-3005
Tuxedo Junction Sackville 3025
Just a Lucky So and So Sackville 3035
Swingmatism Sackville CD2-3046

with Buddy Tate:
The Ballad Artistry Sackville CD2-3034
Saturday Night Function (Sackville All Stars) Sackville SKCD2-3028

with Frank Rosolino:
Thinking of You Sackville 2014

with George Shearing:
Live at the Café Carlyle Concord CCD-4246
George Shearing/Barry Tuckwell Concord CCD-42010

with Mel Torme:
A Night at Charlies Concord CJ 248
Top Drawer Concord CJ 219

with Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass:
Big Band Jazz Umbrella UMB CD-4
Again Umbrella UMB CD-12
Present Perfect MPS 0068 249
Tribute Pausa 7106
Live in Digital SeaBreeze CD-SB-106
The Brass is Back Concord CCD-4458
Brassy and Sassy Concord CCD-4508
Our 25th Year Concord CCD-4559

with Sonny Greenwich:
The Old Man and the Child Sackville C2002
Sun Song CBC Transcription RCI 399
Evol-lution Love's Reverse PM PMR 016

with Pat LaBarbera:
Pass it On PM PMR 009
Necessary Evil CBC Transcription 478

with Emily Remler:
Take Two Concord CCD 4159

with Dave Liebman:
Sweet Fury BeBop to Now BBN 1002

with Bill King:
The Jazz Report All StarsRadioland RA CD 10001

with Moe Koffman:
Solar Explorations GRT 9230-1050
Museum Pieces GRT 9230-1072
Master Sessions GRT 9230-1041

with Rob McConnell Trio:
Three for the Road Concord CCD-4765-2


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