Chester “CT” Thompson, an organ master known for his extensive work in R&B, rock, and jazz, started playing piano at the age of five in his hometown of Oklahoma City. He switched to the organ at 16 and was soon discovered by saxophonist Rudy Johnson, leading to a three-year tour on the Chitlin’ Circuit. In 1969, Thompson moved to San Francisco, where he worked with saxophonist Jules Broussard and formed his own quartet. His 1971 debut album “Powerhouse” on the Black Jazz label is considered a classic.
Thompson joined the funk group Tower of Power in 1973, contributing to their instrumental tunes like “Squib Cakes” and “Ebony Jam.” He was with the band for a decade, appearing on numerous albums. In 1983, he began a 26-year association with Santana, co-writing and co-producing the Grammy-winning album “Blues For Salvador” and contributing to “Supernatural.”
Returning to jazz in 2009, Thompson released “Mixology” in 2012, featuring originals and covers of jazz classics. His music is described as earthy, energetic, and exciting, reflecting his versatility and talent. Thompson’s early musical exposure came from picking out melodies from radio songs, and he was heavily involved in his church choir. This early foundation led him to a lifelong commitment to music, marked by significant contributions to various bands and genres.