A legendary tenor and soprano saxophonist who took his
place among the elite improvisers of jazz from the 1940's to
the 1960's and then quit music. Lucky Thompson connected
the swing era to the more cerebral and complex bebop style.
His sophisticated, harmonically abstract approach to the
tenor saxophone endeared him to the beboppers, but he
was also a beautiful balladeer.
Thompson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, but grew
up on Detroit's East Side. He saved to buy a saxophone
study book, practicing on a simulated instrument carved
from a broomstick. He finally acquired a saxophone when
he was 15, practiced eight hours a day and, within a month,
was playing around town, most notably with the King's Aces
big band, among who was vibraphonist Milt Jackson, later a