Although his international reputation is that of a bassist having appeared on some landmark recordings including “John Handy Live at The Monterey Jazz Festival” (1965) and “Jim Hall Live” (1975) Don Thompson is also an accomplished pianist, vibraphonist, composer and arranger. He spent many years with George Shearing with whom he appeared playing bass and piano (in a duo setting) and vibraphone in the quintet.
Through the years he has worked and recorded with many of the greatest jazz musicians in the world such as Jim Hall, Paul Desmond, Frank Rosolino, Kenny Wheeler and John Abercrombie.
Don has won three Juno awards, The Oscar Peterson Award (Montreal Jazz Festival) and the Hagood Hardy Award for Composition (Socan) as well as thirteen National Jazz Awards. In 2009 he was made an Officer of the Order Of Canada.
In 2010 Don joined Ensemble Vivant, led by pianist Catherine Wilson, and has toured and recorded playing vibes with the group. He has also written arrangements for Ensemble Vivant. He is actively involved with the not-for-profit charitable organization Euterpe (founded by Catherine Wilson), which seeks to plant musical seeds among our youth and others, enriching lives with the multiple benefits of music.
Of working with Ensemble Vivant Don commented:
“These are phenomenal musicians and they are the nicest group of people in the world to be on the road with, I mean, these are really good guys and girls. The music is performed by some of the greatest artists in Canada, indeed some of the greatest artists in the world.”