My man’s gone now

Ed Thigpen, who died the other day in Copenhagen at 79, was the last surviving member of Oscar Peterson’s great jazz trio, after bassist Ray Brown and Peterson himself. He used to visit Montreal frequently 20 years ago and I could go sit 10 feet from his drum kit and watch him bring all his formidable study, reflection and attentiveness to every beat. You couldn’t watch Thigpen and continue to believe jazz drumming was, or should be, essentially a chaotic and reactive activity. He was an orchestrator, one of the finest his instrument knew, and between sets he was a gentleman eager to discuss this music with strangers. There are plenty of Thigpen clips on Youtube, but you can start here: