Ed Thigpen was an American jazz drummer born in 1930.
At 18, Thigpen became a professional musician. In 1950, he joined Cootie Williams’ band at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City. He was drafted in 1952 and served in the US Army in Korea and Japan. After his military service, he joined Dina Washington’s trio. Known as “Mr. Taste,” he went on to become a fixture in New York’s vibrant jazz scene.
In 1959, he realized a dream to play with the Oscar Peterson Trio. From the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s, Thigpen accompanied Ella Fitzgerald’s trio and also played as a freelancer in Hollywood for legends such as Johnny Mathis.
Thigpen moved permanently to Denmark in 1974. He worked with expatriate musicians such as Ernie Wilkins, and Danish jazz artists like Niels-henning Oersted Pedersen.
Thigpen died in 2010 and is buried in Vestre Kirkegaard in Copenhagen. He is survived by his two kids from his second marriage to a Danish woman.
Mixed Experience History Month is the annual blog post series created by The New York Times best-selling author Heidi Durrow celebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to highlight the long history of folks and events involved in the Mixed experience. Please look for archived profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May! Thanks for reading. And check out some of the previous year’s profiles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.