From Jazz (Weather Report), to Rock (Frank Zappa and the Mothers), to Pop (Genesis/Phil Collins) to Gospel (Ron Kenoly), Chester Thompson has surpassed the boundaries of musical genres. Chester’s performance and recording experiences have influenced over three decades of music and musicians. Whether playing drum kit or percussion, Chester’s masterful subtleties and unyielding time create the firm musical foundation for any musical genre.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Chester started playing in local nightclubs at age 13. He’s not stopped since then and has spent extended periods of time in various musical centers including Los Angeles, CA and London. After a heavy touring schedule in the 1970s, 80s and 1990s, Chester and his family now call Nashville, TN home. Busy with live performances, studio recordings, clinics and writing, Chester’s Nashville residence has afforded him more time to invest in students. On faculty at Belmont University since 1998, Chester teaches Applied Performance lessons and directs a Jazz Ensemble. Known for his teaching style and zeal for music, Chester is a favorite among students and fellow colleagues. He has released a DVD of a performance at the 2003 Paderborn Drum Festival entitled “On the Fly” and another DVD with Luis Conte, “Drum Talk, El Habla Tabor”.
Q & A
BORN IN: Baltimore, MD
LIVES IN: Nashville, TN
DRUMMING SINCE: 1960
CURRENT BAND/PROJECT: Chester Thompson Trio
BIGGEST INFLUENCES: Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Billy Cobham
FAVORITE ALBUM PLAYED ON: “Black Market”, Weather Report
FAVORITE ALBUM YOU DIDN’T PLAY ON: “Native Dancer”, Wayne Shorter
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Touring and recording with Weather Report; and hearing a song from my first CD on the radio.
FAVORITE SABIAN CYMBAL: HH Liquid Ride