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Drummer Ed Thigpen, 79, Dies in Denmark

Noted bebop drummer played with Oscar Peterson and Billy Taylor

Ed Thigpen

Drummer Ed Thigpen, noted for his brushwork and sensitive accompaniment to pianists as well as vocalists, died yesterday at Hvidovre Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he had resided for many years. Thigpen was 79.

Although he was born in Chicago, Thigpen was raised in Los Angeles and attended Thomas Jefferson High School, which also produced Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer and Chico Hamilton, amongst many other noted jazz musicians of the ’40s and ’50s. After attending college for a year locally in Los Angeles, Thigpen left to pursue a career in music. He moved to St. Louis where his father Ben, a drummer and veteran of Andy Kirk’s bands, was living. Eventually, like many gifted jazz musicians of that era, he found his way to New York City, where he soon was working with trumpeter Cootie Williams’ band at the Savoy and at shows across the country.

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