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Best of Butch Thompson

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Album Review

Butch Thompson achieved widespread fame during his tenure as the house pianist for Garrison Keillor's public radio series A Prairie Home Companion. The dozen solos on this record originate from several broadcast performances of the program, covering a mix of ragtime, classic jazz, and stride piano compositions from the turn of the century to around 1929. Thompson's attention to the melodies while adding his own distinctive embellishments make every track shine, whether it's a hit like "Carolina Shout" or "Ain't Misbehavin'," or an obscurity like "Little Wonder." His powerful left hand and impeccable timing are readily apparent. The recording quality is excellent, with no announcements or applause drowning out the music. Sold by Minnesota Public Radio to help underwrite a small portion of the huge cost of producing and distributing A Prairie Home Companion, this LP will be hard to locate, as it doesn't seem to have been sold in record stores. It is well worth making a diligent search!


Born: 28 November 1943 in Marine, MN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the top pre-bop pianists to be active during the past 30 years, Butch Thompson's piano playing stretches from Jelly Roll Morton and James P. Johnson to swing; he is also an excellent (if occasional) New Orleans-style clarinetist. In 1962, he joined the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band in Minneapolis, an association that lasted over 20 years. Thompson has led his own trio since the mid-'60s, and during 1974-1986 he appeared regularly on Garrison Keillor's very popular...
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