Rich Thompson

Rich Thompson

Independent, Byron Stripling Quartet, Trio East

Drummer Rich Thompson has been in demand as a top call drummer in Rochester for the past 30 years. Besides serving as the drum set instructor at the Eastman School of Music since the fall of 1996, Rich has toured, performed, and recorded with the œwhos who of jazz greats including pianist James Williams (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers), The Count Basie Orchestra, Tito Puente, Frank Foster, The Byron Stripling quartet, saxophonist Rich Perry, the Bill Dobbins Trio, Harold Danko, Marion McPartland, Trio East (which includes Clay Jenkins and Jeff Campbell), trumpeter Snooky Young, guitarist Gene Bertoncini, Carl Fontana, Phil Woods, Joe Pass, and a host of others too numerous to mention. The Boston Globe cited Rich as œthe drummer who drove the Basie sound when he appeared with them at the Boston Jazz and Blues Festival. Rich has been touring this country and abroad with the Byron Stripling Quartet for the past twelve years. His CD œTrio Generations was released in May of 2012 on Origin Records. It was included on the long list for two Grammys. His CD entitled œLess is More was recorded with trumpet sensation Terell Stafford, pianist Gary Versace, and bassist Jeff Campbell and was released March 2013 on Origin Records also. In 2016 Rich recorded œHave Trumpet Will Swing w/the Bryon Stripling Quartet and in 2017 œI Believe in You with the group Triocity was released. Triocity features multi saxophonist/reedman Charles Pillow and bassist Jeff Campbell. Rich performs regularly with numerous symphonies in the U.S. and Canada, on the world renowned œJazz Cruise and in jazz clubs throughout the U.S. and Europe with the Byron Stripling quartet. His clinics and performances have taken him as far as France, Thailand, Japan, Switzerland and Newfoundland. Rich has written four drum set books published by Kendor Music USA and Advance/Schott Music-Germany. Visit Rich on his website to listen to clips or watch a video of his trio at the Rochester International Jazz Festival “

IN 3

  • Most memorable Next-Level Performance

    I was performing with the Count Basie Orchestra and jazz all-stars including Herbie Hancock and Clark Terry, when Stevie Wonder came on stage and sang "Everyday I Have the Blues" with all of us! I had never experienced a shuffle groove quite that effortless!
  • What Drives Your Creativity?

    It's always been driven by inspirational performances by my idols going back to Baby Dodd's and moving through bop drummers such as Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobb, Tony Williams, Shelly Manne, Mel Lewis etc... through modern drummers I hear in current times.
  • Why do you choose Vic Firth?

    I really love the VF AJ3's for their "buttery" feel and translucent qualities on the cymbals. These are my "go to" sticks for most situations from quartet to performing with a symphony orchestra playing an Ella and Louis Armstrong show.