Born 1942, Jamaica, Queens, NY
Moving to West Virginia in the mid-’60s to attend then West Virginia State College, pianist Bob Thompson is perhaps the state’s best-loved musician and ambassador of jazz. He has touched many people’s lives both as an entertainer and a teacher.
Growing up in NY, he sang in street corner doo-wop bands and originally attended WVSC on a scholarship to study trumpet and music education. After switching to piano, he quickly became a staple on the local scene with bands like the Modern Jazz Interpreters and Joi.
After some independent releases, he signed to Capitol Records subsidiary Intima and later to the Ichiban label. Two of his albums climbed into the Top 25 in Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart while four of his releases made their way into the Top 10 on the Radio and Records jazz chart. Those nationally released works furthered his reputation significantly.
In the meantime, he performed in Brazil, South Africa and Scandinavia. Appearances on BET, as the house pianist on the NPR show Mountain Stage, and several tours abroad have made Thompson a visible presence in the jazz world for more than 40 years. In addition, for the past decade Thompson’s annual holiday jazz show Joy to the World has become a regular feature of Public Radio International’s holiday programming.