OUR MAN BUTCH (1943-2022)

Butch Thompson, pianist, clarinetist, scholar, bandleader, and superbly gracious human being, just left us on August 14. I had refrained from posting this excellent video because of people crossing in front of the camera, but now it seems precious, and the other members of the trio, Jeff Hamilton, drums, and Clint Baker, string bass, encouraged me to share it with you.

A small irony. NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW is an anthem of the hot jazz Butch created with such ease and energy at the keyboard, but its title is a paradox, for he was the very soul of kindness, making friends out of strangers (even hero-worshiping strangers with video cameras) instantly. I cannot separate the delight of his sounds from the sweetness of the person. Thank you, Butch, for what you did and who you are: they both linger in the mind and heart.

May your happiness increase!

4 responses to “OUR MAN BUTCH (1943-2022)

  1. Victory L Whitlock

    You captured the man, the artist and the beautiful gentle person so well, another hole torn in the fabric of our lives.

  2. Paige VanVorst

    One of the few irreplaceable people in the jazz world. I enjoyed his friendship for over fifty years and his music was never less than world class. One of the few traditional jazz musicians recognized as a Steinway artist; he was overjoyed to return from the hospital Friday to play his piano one last time. Beautiful video.

  3. Bart Nassberg

    Everyone who knew Butch appreciated his musical talent, his depth of knowledge about jazz history, but, above all, his personality. He was generous, sensitive and had a sly sense of humor. He spoke ill of no one and never boasted. We were blessed by his presence and mourn his loss.

  4. Ah, to be remembered like that! Thank you, Bart.

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