Chester Thompson

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Chester Thompson
2157 - Pittsburgh - Mellon Arena - Genesis - Drum Duet (Chester Thompson crop).JPG
Chester playing with Genesis during the Turn It On Again Tour (2007)
Background information
Birth name Chester Cortez Thompson
Born (1948-12-11) December 11, 1948 (age 65)
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Genres Progressive rock, pop rock, jazz fusion
Instruments Drums
Years active 1973–present
Associated acts Genesis
Phil Collins
Steve Hackett
Frank Zappa
Weather Report
Ron Kenoly

Chester Cortez Thompson (born December 11, 1948) is an American drummer and session musician.1


Thompson made his name as a session drummer, going on to play in Frank Zappa's touring band (as part of the 1973–1974 lineups, which also featured percussionist Ruth Underwood and jazz keyboardist George Duke) and in Weather Report's album Black Market (1976).2 He played on such noted Zappa albums as Roxy & Elsewhere (Live recording 8-10.12.1973 & 8.5.1974), You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2 (Live in Helsinki, Finland 22–23.9.1974, released 1988) and One Size Fits All (1975).

His longest-standing gig was with Genesis as the touring drummer (1977-2007).3 His relationship with the band began with the departure of frontman Peter Gabriel. Then-drummer, Phil Collins, assumed Gabriel's role in live shows, but remained behind the drum kit in the studio. Thompson became the touring drummer4 in 1977, playing on their tours in that year and in 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983/4, 1986/7, 1992 and the 2007 reunion Turn It On Again Tour. Chester is featured on their live albums Seconds Out (1977), Three Sides Live (1982), The Way We Walk Volume 1 (1992) & Volume 2 (1993) and Live Over Europe 2007. He chose not to be involved in the band's Calling All Stations European 1998 tour, following the band's failure to invite him to join the studio band after Phil Collins's departure.

Thompson has also worked with Phil Collins on his solo concert tours, drumming on the 1982/83 Hello, I Must Be Going! tour, 1985 No Jacket Required tour, 1990 ...But Seriously tour, The Tarzan Premiere tour of 1999 and The Final Farewell tour of 2004/05. Chester also appears on Phil Collins' Serious Hits... Live! (1990) live album and DVD, and has released his own solo album, A Joyful Noise (1999, Camino Records, CAMCD16).

Chester also plays on the Steve Hackett albums, Please Don't Touch (1978) and Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (1996). Later on, he played on Tony Banks' solo album A Curious Feeling (1979). He also appears on Steve Hackett's live album The Tokyo Tapes released in 1998 (recorded, which features also and John Wetton, Ian McDonald and Julian Colbeck.

He was also a founding member of the band Fire Merchants with Brand X guitarist John Goodsall and bassist Doug Lunn and appeared on their first eponymous recording in 1989. Chester has also been credited with playing drums with Santana in 1984 and is credited in the Beyond Appearances album along with Chester D. Thompson on keyboards.

Chester's playing style is widely acknowledged and respected, and can be seen on numerous live videos of Genesis, from 1977 up to early 1990s. His live playing with the band is a striking mixture of his own style and Collins' own, being equally comfortable with acoustic and electronic drums. In the past, Chester has endorsed Ludwig Drums (1970-March, 1977), Pearl Drums (April, 1977 - July, 1987), Sonor Drums (1990–1999) and Paiste cymbals (1970–90), but now he endorses DW Drums since 2000 and Sabian cymbals since 1990.

He was also a member of Air Pocket, a band centered around the Fowler Brothers.

Chester Thompson is Adjunct Instructor at Belmont University's School of Music in Nashville/USA.

Selected discography


  • A Joyful Noise (1991, Mesa/Bluemoon )
    • with George Duke, Gerald Albright, Brandon Fields & Fowler Brothers
  • Approved (2013, Joyful Noise Inc)
    • with the Chester Thompson Trio

As sideman

With Frank Zappa

With Weather Report

With Air Pocket

With Genesis (live albums)

With Steve Hackett

With Tony Banks

With Ahmad Jamal

With Santana

With Fire Merchants

  • 1989: Fire Merchants

With Phil Collins


  1. ^ Chester Thompson Official Site
  2. ^ Jenkins, Todd (2002-04-24). "CD/LP Review: Black Market". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  3. ^ Kelman, John. "Genesis: The Movie Box 1981-2007". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  4. ^ Doerschuk, Bob (1 May 2002). Playing from the heart: great musicians talk about their craft. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-87930-704-2. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 

External links

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