picture of Chester Thompson
Chester D. Thompson
Chester started playing the piano at his home in Oklahoma City at age five, picking out the notes from popular songs he heard on the radio. His parents quickly recognized his innate talent and arranged for formal piano lessons. And, it wasn't long before Thompson started playing both piano and organ for the choir at his church. By the age of 13, Thompson had discovered jazz, which became a major, life-long influence, and by the age of 16, he had switched almost exclusively to the Hammond organ, and was playing in high school rock bands.
 
It was while still in high school that Thompson realized he could make a living as a professional musician. He'd been performing in bands at gigs throughout the state of Oklahoma for a couple of years, when he caught the ear of Rudy Johnson. As he was losing his keyboardist, Johnson asked Thompson to join the Rudy Johnson Trio and, at age 19, Thompson packed his bags and spent the next three years touring the country with that group.
 
One of Thompson's first performances with the Rudy Johnson Trio was in San Francisco. He liked the city enough to make it his home, and he moved to the Bay Area permanently when the band decided to split up in 1969. At first, he took a day job at a bank while he broke into the San Francisco music scene by playing clubs at night. He spent the next few years playing around the Bay Area, and landed a regular gig as the keyboardist with Jules Broussard, which eventually evolved into Thompson leading his own band. It was during this time that Thompson also released his first album under the Black Jazz label, a solo project titled, "Power House".
 
In 1973, Thompson was playing at a club and was heard by a member of Tower of Power. Although Thompson had 'retired' from the road, he was convinced to join the band as keyboardist. And, for the next ten years, Thompson not only filled out the band's distinctive R & B/funk sound with his dynamic keyboard style, he wrote many of the group's songs. In fact, he was responsible for most of Tower of Power's instrumental hits during a period that most critics and fans agree was the group's peak.
 
From 1983 to 2009 starting with his debut on "Beyond Appearances", Thompson injected Santana's music with a powerful, creative energy that has added new dimension to their sound. In addition, he has continued to make contributions in other areas. He not only co-wrote, with Carlos Santana, the songs on the instrumental album, "Blues for Salvador", he also provided an inspirational spark during the recording of it's Grammy Award-winning title track. In addition, Thompson also collaborated with Santana on nine songs that were included on "Spirits Dancing In the Flesh". Since leaving Santana in 2009, Chester has returned to his soul-jazz roots, performing with his own quartet.
 
He has had opportunities to play with some of the other great musicians and groups, including Wayne Shorter, Earth Wind & Fire, The Temptations and many others. Hard working, dedicated, and extremely versatile, he not only played the organ, but commanded a full rack of emulators, synthesizers and keyboard controllers for recordings and in performance.
 
from the Santana official web site www.santana.com
contact:
homepage:
on tour Click on the logo to see Chester's tour dates.

 

Discography
Powerhouse
Black Jazz Records BJ/6
released 1973

Chester Thompson, organ
Rudolph Johnson, sax
Al Hall, trombone
Raymond Pounds, drums
Tower Of Power
Warner Bros BS 2681
released 1973
recorded 1973 in Sausalito, CA/USA
Lenny Williams, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ, vocals
Bruce Conte, guitar, vocals
Francis Rocco Prestia, bass
Brent Byars, congas, drums, bongos
David Garibaldi, drums
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax, flute, clarinet, vocals
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax, vocals
Stephen Kupka, baritone sax, oboe, vocals
Mic Gillette, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, baritone horn, vocals
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
Tower Of Power Live In Sausalito 1973
bootleg
recorded June 1973 in Sausalito, CA/USA
Lenny Williams, vocals
Emilio Castillo, sax
Stephen 'Doc' Kupka, baritone sax
Mic Gillette, trombone
Greg Adams, trumpet
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax
Chester "CT" Thompson, organ
Bruce Conte, guitar
Francis 'Rocco' Prestia, bass
David Garibaldi, drums
Back To Oakland
Warner Bros BS 2749
released 1974
recorded 1974 in Seattle, WA and Sausalito, CA/USA
Greg Adams, conductor, trumpet, flugelhorn
Harry Betts, conductor
Lenny Pickett, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, flute, alto flute, piccolo
Bud Shank, alto sax, flute, alto flute, piccolo
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax
Stephen "Doc" Kupka, baritone sax, English horn
Mic Gillette, trombone, bass trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn
Ray Guilette, trombone
Kell Houston, trombone
Frank Rosolino, trombone
Tommy Shepard, trombone
Vincent DeRosa, French horn
David Duke, French horn
Richard Perissi, French horn
Bruce Conte, guitar
Chester Thompson, organ, piano, clavinet, synthesizer
Francis "Rocco" Prestia, bass
David Garibaldi, drums
Brent Byars, congas
Marilyn Scott, vocals
Lenny Williams, vocals
Urban Renewal
Warner Bros BS 2834
released 1975
recorded 1975 in Sausalito, CA/USA
Lenny Pickett, alto sax, soprano sax, tenor sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet
Stephen Kupka, baritone sax
Francis Rocco Prestia, bass
David Bartlett, Drums, vocals
Bruce Conte, Guitar, vocals
Lenny Williams, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ, piano, clavinet, synthesizer, vocals
Emillo Castillo, tenor saxophone, vocals
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Mic Gillette, trumpet, trombone, vocals
In The Slot
Warner Bros BS 2880
released 1975
recorded 1975 in Sausalito, CA/USA
Hubert Tubbs, vocals
Bruce Conte, guitar, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ, piano, clavinet, keyboards, vocals
Francis "Rocco" Prestia, bass
David Garibaldi, drums
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, piccolo, flute, clarinet, contra-bass clarinet, lyricon
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax, vocals
Steve Kupka, baritone sax
Mic Gillette, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, bass trombone, vocals
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Live And In Living Color
Warner Bros BS 2924
released 1976
recorded 1976 live at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and Cerritos College/USA
Lenny Pickett, flute, alto sax, tenor sax Francis "Rocco" Prestia, Bass Hubert Tubbs, vocals Stephen Kupka, baritone sax, vocals Greg Adams, trumpet, vocals, flugelhorn, horn Chester Thompson, organ, keyboards, vocals, clavinet Emilio Castillo, tenor sax, vocals Bruce Conte, guitar, vocals David Garibaldi, drums Mic Gillette, trombone, horn, vocals, piccolo, flugelhorn, trumpet Stephen "Doc" Kupka, baritone sax, vocals
Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now
Columbia 34302
released 1976
recorded 1976 in Sausalito, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Burbank, CA/San Francisco, CA/USA
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn, horn, vocals
Ron E. Beck, vocals, drums, snare drum
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax, vocals
Bruce Conte, guitar, vocals
Mic Gillette, percussion, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, baritone horn, bass trombone, vocals
Stephen "Doc" Kupka, baritone sax
Bill Lamb, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn
Edward McGee, vocals
Lenny Pickett, alto sax, tenor sax, lyricon
Francis Prestia, bass
Chester Thompson, organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, vocals
We Came To Play
Columbia 34906
released 1978
recorded 1978 in Sausalito, CA, Los Angeles, CA/USA
Victor Conte, bass
Ronnie Beck, drums
Bruce Conte, guitar
Michael Jeffries, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ, clavinet, piano
Steven Kupka, baritone sax
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax
Lenny Pickett, alto sax, tenor sax, synthesizer, clarinet, flute
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Mic Gillette, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn
Steve Cropper, guitar
Back On The Streets
Columbia 34302
released 1979
recorded 1979 in Sausalito, CA, Los Angeles, CA/USA
Emilio Castillo - tenor sax
Lenny Pickettm, synthesizer, alto sax, soprano sax, tenor sax
Stephen "Doc" Kupka, baritone sax
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Mic Gillette, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo, bass trombone, piccolo trumpet
Michael Jeffries, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ, synthesizer, piano
David Garibaldi, synthesizer, drums, syndrum
Vito San Filippo, bass
Danny Hoefer, guitar
Eddie "Bongo" Brown, percussion
Greg Crockett, guitar
Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
Cheryl Jeffries, vocals
Bill Lamb, brass
Gayle Levant, harp
Direct Plus!
Sheffield Lab 10074-2-F
previously released in 1981 as direct cut LP, Sheffield Lab 17
recorded June 1981 in Culver City, CA/USA
Vito San Filippo, bass
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Mic Gillette, trombone, trumpet
Rick Waychesko, trumpet
Mark Sanders, drums
Willie Fulton, guitar
Chester Thompson, piano, organ
Victor Feldman, percussion
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax
Stephen Kupka, baritone sax
Michael Jeffries, vocals
Edie Lehmann, vocals
James Gilstrap, vocals
Oren Waters, vocals
Dinosaur Tracks
Rhino Hand Made RHM2 7703
recorded 1999 in USA
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax
Stephen Doc Kupka, baritone sax
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Willie James Fulton, guitar
Mic Gillette, trombone, trumpet
Marc Russo, alto sax, tenor sax
Michael Jeffries, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ
Vito San Filippo, bass
Mark Sanders, drums
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax
Victor Patterson, drums
Everybody On The Bus
Lightyear Entertainment 54307-2

Francis Rocco Prestia, bass
Carmen Grillo, vocals, guitar
Brandon Fields, sax
Tom Saviano, sax
Bill Churchville, trumpet
Don Harris, flugelhorn
Eric Jorgensen, trombone
Nick Milo, organ, keyboards
Chester Thompson, organ, keyboards
Bruce Conte, guitar
Jeff Tamelier, guitar
David Garibaldi, drums
Herman Matthews, drums
Arno Lucas, percussion
Frank Biner, vocals
Brent Carter, vocals
Tamara Champlin, vocals
Jeff Ramsey, vocals
The Oakland Zone
Or Music Or 803022
recorded 2003 in USA
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax
Stephen Doc Kupka, baritone sax
Greg Adams, trumpet, flugelhorn
Willie James Fulton, guitar
Mic Gillette, trombone, trumpet
Marc Russo, alto sax, tenor sax
Michael Jeffries, vocals
Chester Thompson, organ
Vito San Filippo, bass
Mark Sanders, drums
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax
Victor Patterson, drums
40th Anniversary
Top Records TOP300207
recorded live October 2008 at The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA/USA
Mark Russo, alto sax
Richard Elliot, tenor sax
Brandon Fields, tenor sax
Skip Mesquite, tenor sax
Tom Politzer, tenor sax
Norbert Stachel, tenor sax
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax, vocals
Stephen "Doc" Kupka, baritone sax
Mike Bogart, trombone, trumpet
Mic Gillette, trombone, trumpet
Adolfo Acosta, trumpet, flugelhorn
Bill Churchville, trumpet, flugelhorn
Greg Adams, trumpet
Carmen Grillo, guitar
Mark Harper, guitar
Jeff Tamelier, guitar
Dave Matthews, piano
Nick Milo, Hammond B-3 organ, synthesizer
Roger Smith, Hammond B-3 organ, piano, clavinet
Bobby Sparks, Hammond B-3 organ
Chester Thompson, Hammond B-3 organ, piano
Francis "Rocco" Prestia, bass
David Garibaldi, drums
Ron E. Beck, drums
Mick Mestek, drums
Russ McKinnon, drums
Herman Matthews, drums
Larry Braggs, vocals
Ellis Hall, vocals
Sam Moore, vocals
Hipper Than Hip
Real Gone Music RGM0208
recorded May 1974 in Hempstead, NY/USA
Greg Adams, trumpet
Brent Byars, congas
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax
Bruce Conte, guitar
David Garibaldi, drums
Mic Gillette, trumpet
Stephen (Doc) Kupka, baritone sax
Lenny Pickett, tenor sax
Francis Rocco Prestia, bass
Chester Thompson, organ, keyboards
Lenny Williams, vocals

 
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