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Isaiah J. Thompson

Isaiah J. Thompson is the winner of the 2023 American Pianists Awards and the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz of the American Pianists Association. Originally from West Orange, New Jersey, the pianist and composer began studying at The Calderone School of Music from an early age, and soon after with Jazz House Kids and NJPAC Jazz For Teens. Isaiah was later admitted to The Juilliard School where he graduated with both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees.

Isaiah has performed with major artists, including Ron Carter, John Pizzarelli, Christian McBride, Catherine Russell, Steve Turre and Buster Williams. His recording debut was featured on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Handful of Keys album with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, and he has since released multiple recordings as a leader.

He worked on the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack for Motherless Brooklyn, was named a Steinway Artist and has been awarded other accolades including, the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, and second place in the 2018 Thelonious Monk Competition.

As a performer, Isaiah tries to emit love, spirit and respect and convey his personal experiences through his artistry.


Six Picks

May 2023

Read "May 2023" reviewed by Pat Youngspiel

Isaiah J. Thompson The Power of the Spirit Blue Engine Records 2023 Since finishing second in 2018's Thelonious Monk competition, pianist Isaiah J. Thompson has established a particularly convincing profile as one of New York's most promising keyboard artists, while his recordings have been at home on Jazz at Lincoln Center's label ever since his 2017 debut, Handful Of Keys. The Power Of The Spirit can be considered the pianist's most original statement to date, ...

Album Review

John Pizzarelli: Stage & Screen

Read "Stage & Screen" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli's Stage & Screen salutes songs from Broadway and Hollywood. However, there is also a subtext in five songs on the track list in which “time" is featured either prominently or covertly, as it deals with love lost, found, unrequited or déjà vu. In this recital, Pizzarelli is joined by bassist Mike Karn and pianist Isaiah J. Thompson as they work smoothly together to trace the harmonic seams and essence of each tune. The ...

Live Review

2023 American Pianists Awards

Read "2023 American Pianists Awards" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

2023 American Pianists Awards Indianapolis, Indiana April 20-22, 2023 The mission of the American Pianists Association is “to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists." One of the major activities in that mission is the bi-annual competitions run by the Association, alternating classical and jazz artists. The process spans 13 months: the Preliminary Round, Premiere Series, and Discovery Week are all adjudicated, and the contestant with the highest cumulative ...

Album Review

Steve Turre: Generations

Read "Generations" reviewed by Dave Linn

Generations is a wonderful exploration of the bop and post-bop era. Steve Turre both looks back to his roots while encouraging the next generation of musicians to find their voice. It's a position he's eminently qualified for, considering the artists he has played with and his tenure as a long-time jazz educator. Trombone players have a unique place in the sound created in a small jazz band. Their parts helped blend and define any given melody. On this ...

Album Review

John Pizzarelli: Stage & Screen

Read "Stage & Screen" reviewed by Steve Monroe

Evoking heartfelt memories of love and longing, sunshine, laughter and more, vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli's Stage & Screen delivers vibrant interpretations of classic songs from Broadway and Hollywood. The album provides not only nostalgia and hopeful vibes, but what amounts to orchestral artistry by Pizzarelli, pianist Isaiah J. Thompson and bassist Mike Karn as a bonus. Pizzarelli, a Grammy award winner and long an internationally acclaimed performer and entertainer, has been credited as being a prime interpreter of the Great American ...

Album Review

Isaiah J. Thompson: The Power of the Spirit

Read "The Power of the Spirit" reviewed by Neil Duggan

Isaiah J. Thompson is one of the leading pianists of his generation. In 2023, 25-year-old has a background that is already hugely impressive. This includes his debut album as a leader, Isaiah J. Thompson Plays the Music of Buddy Montgomery (WJ3), in 2020. His accolades have included earning the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, second place in the 2018 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition, and he has worked on the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack for Motherless ...

Radio & Podcasts

Isaiah J. Thompson, Guano Padano, Camille Bertault, Rope & Other New Releases

Read "Isaiah J. Thompson, Guano Padano, Camille Bertault, Rope & Other New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Enjoy a playlist which starts with Larry Goldings getting scary and ends with Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass confirming they're extraordinary.Happy listening!Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 Scary Goldings “Hi Ho Silverstein" IV (Pockets) 0:16 Host talks 3:24 Isaiah J. Thompson “Mikula Blues" Composed in Color (Red) 5:26 John Taylor “Afterthought" Angel of the Presence [Remastered] (C.A.M.) 11:26 Host talks 17:49 Guano Padano “Un Occhio Verso Tokyo / Jack ...

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Jul 18 Thu


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Smoke Sessions Records


The Power of the...

Blue Engine Records


Stage & Screen

Palmetto Records



Smoke Sessions Records


The Ellis Marsalis...

Nu Jazz Records/Nu Jazz Entertainment


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