Concert Pianist, clarinetist Butch Thompson performs at the LeDuc estate on April 13
World renowned pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson will be in concert at 3 p.m Sunday, April 13, at the LeDuc Historic Estate, 1629 Vermillion Street. The concert is open to the community. A donation of $10 is being asked.
Thompson has earned a world-wide reputation as a traditional jazz and ragtime master. He tours widely as a soloist or at the helm of any of his several ensembles, including his well-known Butch Thompson Trio, his eight-piece Jazz originals band, the Butch Thompson Big Three, or his unique blues duo with finger style guitarist Pat Donohue.
Thompson has performed with many symphony orchestras, including the Hartford Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Cairo (Egypt) Symphony.
Born and raised in Marine-on-St. Croix, Thompson was playing Christmas carols on his mother’s upright piano by the time he was 3, and began formal lessons at 6. He picked up the clarinet in high school and led his first jazz group, “Shirt Thompson and His Sleeves,” as a high school senior. After high school he joined the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band of Minneapolis, and at 18 made his first visit to New Orleans, where he became one of the few non-New Orleans residents to perform at Preservation Hall during the 1960s and 70s.
In 1974 he joined the staff as the house pianist of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion. By 1980 the show was nationally syndicated, and the Butch Thompson Trio was the house band, a position the group held for the next six years. Today he appears on the show as a frequent guest.
By the late 90s Thompson was known as a leading authority on early jazz. He served as a development consultant on the 1992 Broadway hit, “Jelly’s Last Jam,” which starred Gregory Hines. He also joined the touring company of the off-Broadway hit “Jelly Roll! With The Music and the Man,” Thompson played several runs with that show in New York and with its touring company through 1997.
In addition to extensive touring (he has traveled the world from Cairo to Tokyo) as a soloist and with his trio and eight-piece Jazz Originals Band, he finds time to write and teach. His writing has appeared in various magazines including Down Beat and The Mississippi Rag and among his teaching credits are residencies at the American University in Cairo and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Thompson has made many critically acclaimed recordings, the latest CD release being “Vicksburg Blues” with guitarist Pat Donohue.
This concert is being sponsored by the Rusty and Mary Jane Poepl Foundation, Dakota County Historical Society, and Friends of LeDuc of Historic Hastings. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 651-437-7055.
The LeDuc Historic Estate is owned by the City of Hastings and managed by Dakota County Historical Society. For further information see www.dakotahistory.org.