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*Ed Thigpen was born on this date in 1930. He was a Black Jazz and standards drummer.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Edmund Leonard Thigpen was raised in Los Angeles and attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon, and Chico Hamilton also attended. After majoring in sociology at Los Angeles City College, Thigpen returned to East St. Louis for one year to pursue music while living with his father who had been playing with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy. His father, Ben Thigpen, was a drummer who played with Andy Kirk for sixteen years during the 1930s and 1940s.
Thigpen first worked professionally in New York City with the Cootie Williams Orchestra from 1951 to 1952 at the Savoy Ballroom. During this time, he played with musicians such as Dinah Washington, Oscar Pettiford, Eddie Vinson, Ernie Wilkins, Charlie Rouse, Johnny Hodges, Dorothy Ashby, Bud Powell, and Billy Taylor. In 1959 he replaced guitarist Herb Ellis in the Oscar Peterson Trio in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 1961 he recorded in Los Angeles with Phineas Newborn Jr. and Ray Brown.
After leaving Peterson, Thigpen recorded the album Out of the Storm as a leader for Verve in 1966. He then went on to tour with Ella Fitzgerald from 1967 to 1972. In 1974 Thigpen moved to Copenhagen, joining several Black jazz musicians who had settled in that city. There he worked with fellow American expatriates, including Kenny Drew, Ernie Wilkins, Thad Jones. He also played with a variety of other leading musicians of the time, such as Clark Terry, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Milt Jackson, and Monty Alexander.
Ed Thigpen died peacefully after a brief period in Hvidovre Hospital in Copenhagen on January 13, 2010. He is buried at Vestre Kirkegård. Thigpen was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2002.