JAZZ PIANO & CLARINET
Evolving Jazz Tradition
Butch brings his own voice to the classic jazz repertoire of blues, stomps, ragtime and pop songs. From Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag to Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo, from Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans jazz to the virtuosic stride piano of 1920s Harlem, Butch has played his personal style from Cairo to Kansas City.
MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS
Whether he's working solo, with his well-known Butch Thompson Trio, 8-piece band, or other ensemble (see Shows), Butch delivers variety and the pure, contagious joy of music making.
Jelly Roll Morton said it best
Jazz was born in New Orleans, he said, from a gumbo of "everything from blues to opera. Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm. When you have your plenty rhythm with your plenty swing, it becomes beautiful."
One afternoon on a New Orleans porch. From left: Tom Ebbert, Brian O'Connell, Butch, Bill Huntington, Chuck Badie, Duke Heitger.
The annual Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans is always held the first weekend in August to roughly coincide with the great man's birthday. He was born August 4th, 1901, and so this year's party is set for July 31st through August 3rd at the usual place, the old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter. This will be the 14th annual festival. Music and food on the lawn are a big part of it – it's New Orleans, after all – but I'm partial to the seminars and rare films held inside. Some of the top scholars and collectors are always there. Sure, I might play a couple of gigs on the lawn, but I'm there to listen and learn.
Butch's Calendar here.
Born in a small Minnesota river town, Thompson played Christmas carols on his mother’s upright piano by age three, and began formal lessons at six. He studied clarinet in high school, and as a teenager led his first professional jazz group, Shirt Thompson & His Sleeves.