Ed Thigpen, RIP

An American jazz master who relocated to Europe nearly four decades ago died yesterday in Denmark hours after eight of his peers were honored in New York. Drummer Ed Thigpen succumbed to heart and lung problems in a hospital in Copenhagen, his home since 1972. He was 79. Thigpen was universally admired for his technique, which he applied with taste and musicianship that made him one of the best known drummers in the world during his long run as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio. Here, he is featured with Peterson and Ray Brown in Italy in1961, playing Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud.”

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  1. says

    I was intrigued by the set-up, with the leader not facing bass and drums (which makes quite clear who leads and who follows) especially when Thigpen seems to be waiting for a sign from Brown to switch to sticks (1:38), which Peterson eventually gives (1:50) and Brown transmits (1:58).

  2. jeff helgesen says

    Thigpen lived in Illinois for awhile in the early 1990s. He directed the U/Illinois Jazz Band for one year. He may have been based in Chicago after that for a time.
    (Thigpen remained based in Copenhagen until his death. He did return to the US for professional visits of varying length. — DR)

  3. says

    That’s some timeless playing.
    Re: the set-up, I can’t say I understand it, but I do believe that Diana Krall has been known to set up this way too.