Jimmy Thomson

Died on Friday 27th September 2013

30/09/13 - News has just reached me from Steve Voce, that Jimmy Thomson has died. Jimmy, who played Clarinet. Alto & Tenor Saxophones was a legend in his lifetime, playing over the years with such famous names as the Cyril Stapleton Orchestra, Joe Loss Orchestra and the Ken Macintosh Orchestra. In his illustrious career Jimmy had also been head of Blackpool's Music Department and was able to launch the careers of many a gifted youngster before taking early retirement and becoming even more involved with the jazz scene throughout the British Isles. His instrument was the Eb Tenor Horn which he still played when he joined the R. A. F. for National Service. He was a keen member of the station band but his interest had been drawn to the clarinet which he began to study seriously, gradually adding other members of the reed family. He began to make his living with the bands from the local ballrooms eventually establishing himself in Blackpool where he played during the summer seasons with the Ken Macintosh Big Band for many years and with the Eric Delaney Band. He became a well-known face at the famous Tower Ballroom. Colin Mason once wrote, "Considered by many to be one of the finest reed players in the North West Jimmy was a highly versatile musician who could play the sax and clarinet equally well across a variety of jazz styles. His tenor saxophone solos reflected his love of the playing of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. Fred Shawcross, drummer/leader of the Jeriatric Jazz Group and columnist with the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, described Jimmy as "a wonderfully inventive tenor sax soloist." Another jazz critic has written about one of his performances: "On a varied series of numbers culled from all points of the jazz compass, he displayed the superb technique and the startling originality of ideas which we have by now come to associate with him.' Elsewhere none other than the late and great trumpet player, Kenny Baker. commented: "Another musician I have always enjoyed is Jimmy Thompson. Professional down to his toes, quiet and self-effacing but he can play absolutely anything required. With Jim in the section nothing can go wrong.""

30/09/13 - A sad loss. A nice man, great sense of humour, a good story teller and a great player. He will be sorely missed. I had the privilege of him playing in my band and each gig was a joy. I learnt a lot from him. My condolences go to Helen, his daughters and grandchildren.

Mike Lovell

01/10/13 - A great player and a great bloke.

Keith Nichols

01/10/13 - Only just found out that Jimmy Thomson has passed away.. a lovely guy...and a great musician.  I feel truly fortunate to have known him and worked with him on many gigs. Our heart goes out to Helen, so very sorry.  If there is a big band in heaven, Jim will be first picked for the first tenor seat !

R.I.P. Pete and Yvonne Fielding x

01/10/13 - Sad news indeed, he was one of the greats, an honour to work with him

Mike Taylor

01/10/13 - Truly a great musician and a really nice guy.It was a privilege to play alongside him.

Bill Barrow  

01/10/13 - Oh, very sad. I knew Jimmy for years. A superlative musician and a lovely fellow. Condolences to his family.

Pete Lindup

02/10/13 -

So sorry to hear this, loved the man and honoured to have worked with him on many occasions. When lots of so called main stream orthodox musicians were criticising younger ' electric' players Jimmy was always open to all types of new music and players who perhaps didn't have an academic background and he was always supportive. A brilliant and innovative player Jimmy embraced many styles of contemporary and classic jazz and was highly respected by some of the world's greats. Loved his native whiskey and good jokes. Sleep well Jim.

Tony Williams

03/10/13 -So sad to hear about Jimmy. I've worked with him on many gigs. He'll be missed by musicians and music fans everywhere. God bless you Jim.

Gerry Clayton

03/10/13 -

Very sad news indeed, a great player and he will be much missed.

Chris Walton


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