WHAT MAKES THE FABULOUS MS. JO THOMPSON SO FABULOUS?
Jo Thompson – born in Detroit, Michigan, has appeared on television and in swank nightclubs that have taken her all over the world. London, Paris, Madrid, Havana, Montreal, Hollywood, Miami and New York are only a few of the cities that have hosted her talents. She has performed in such notable nightspots as San Souci in Cuba, the Keyboard Club in Beverly Hills, California, Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe, Cafe Society and Michael’s Pub in New York, as well as the Stork Room in London, England, and Ciro’s in Miami.
Jo Thompson’s successes have included achievements such as having jazz great Lionel Hampton present her in a one-woman show at New York’s acclaimed Carnegie Hall to benefit her late husband’s scholarship fund, the Albert Dunmore Journalism Scholarship. After performing to rave reviews at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Thompson was summoned to do her one-woman show in a “Command Performance” for the Queen, that is-the “Queen of Soul”-Miss Aretha Franklin! In 1992, after being away from the Manhattan club scene for more than 30 years, Ms. Thompson was held over for five weeks at New York’s legendary nightclub, Michaels Pub. Other recent club successes include gaining new fans from appearances at noted New York night spots such as Eighty-Eights, The Supper Club, Tavern on the Green, the Blue Note Jazz Club, The Rainbow Room and Iridium Jazz Club.
As well as being musically gifted, Ms. Thompson is an award-winning fashion designer. Along with her son Gregory Dunmore, under the name “Carlos Nina”, they have created dramatic and stunning evening wear.
Jo Thompson’s outstanding repertoire is filled with every type song imaginable–from blues to ballads, old and new love songs, and ditties known only to Ms. Thompson. She was the first vocalist (acknowledged by composer Ron Miller) to sing what was to become the pop classic “For Once in My Life.” Miller is quoted as saying, “She sang it first and also the best!”
Reviews from New York City media proved that Jo Thompson is a captivating and impressive talent. Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote she has a “thumping vitality” and a “robust sense of humor.” He added, “Stylistically, Ms. Thompson’s singing falls somewhere between the blues of Alberta Hunter and the more open-hearted rhythm and blues of Ruth Brown.” The Daily News’ Howard Kissel stated, “She plays a mean honky tonk piano and she performs with drive.” And, he also wrote, “She looks young, vital and sexy, as if her career had just began. After 30 years, she has returned with no less energy and spunk than she must have had in the 1950s.”
Jerry Tallmer of the New York Post stated, “It takes guts to make a comeback in New York after 30 years and Jo Thompson is obviously a lady with plenty of guts. She sings the familiar old songs and some not so familiar with force and flair. ” “She is a classic,” concludes Roy Sander of Back Stage. “Thompson is, in a word, terrific. Amazing is another word that comes to mind,” stated the New York Post’s Donna Coe.
Summing up, in “Jo Thompson takes Manhattan,” New York’s Amsterdam News’ theatrical critic, Herb Boyd, wrote: “An evening with songstress/pianist Jo Thompson is to experience a veritablecavalcade of great entertainers. Depending on the song or her interpretation, the likes of Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Tony Bennett, Nat ‘King’ Cole, the Mills Brothers, Nellie Lutcher or Fats Waller is conjured.” (Michael’s Pub owner Gil Wiest said, “If you close your eyes when Jo Thompson is doing a Waller tune, it’s as if Fats Waller was actually at the piano. Remarkable!”) Boyd concluded his review by saying, “Jo Thompson is a consummate storyteller whether standing or at the keyboard.” Indeed, Jo Thompson is remarkable!
Currently, Jo Thompson is performing with the J.C. Heard Orchestra directed by Walt Szymanski and will be touring in a tribute to Lena Horne (which debuted to great success at New York’s legendary Blue Note Jazz Club with an encore performance in Manhattan at the Metropolitan Room.) In a show titled: “THANK YOU LENA!!!”, Jo Thompson brings to each performance more than 50 years worth of experience. She is a definitive entertainer extraordinaire. Her style of music and entertainment is a classic musical blend of time-tested songs, humor, sophistication, glamour and beauty.
Shirley Eder, columnist in the Detroit Free Press and the recipient of the Publicists Guild of America’s National Press Award states, “To me, Jo Thompson is a piano playing Lena Horne, a singing Hazel Scott and/or a combination of all the wonderful talents of which Bobby Short is made.” She possesses that certain indefinable quality that lifts a super talent into upper-crust entertainment. Three words best describe Ms. Jo Thompson- SOPHISTICATION, TALENT AND EXCITEMENT!!!