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Music Memory - Don Thompson

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project":  a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

Don is “multi” in many ways.  He’s a multi-award winning musician, being honoured with Junos, Jazz Report and National Jazz Awards, and as an Officer of the Order of Canada.  He’s multi-faceted, working as a recording artist, composer, recording engineer, producer, and educator.  And he’s a multi-instrumentalist, working as a drummer / percussionist, pianist, bassist, and vibraphonist.

“I only had a couple of piano teachers when I was a kid but I did play with some great musicians that taught me a ton of stuff.  There was a tenor player in Vancouver named Fraser McPherson.  I can remember doing a series of shows on CBC radio where I was playing vibes.  The music was all written out for Flute, Vibes and Guitar but I didn't know how to read music.  Fraser was the flute player and he spent all the breaks teaching me my parts.  We did about 26 shows and at the end of it all I could actually read music!  Most of the rest of what I know I picked up just by really listening to the guys I was working with:  John Handy, George Shearing, Jim Hall, Rick Wilkins, Sonny Greenwich, Doug Riley, Reg Schwager, Phil Dwyer, and a hundred or so others were all really important people to me.  Pretty well everyone I've ever worked with has taught me a lot of the stuff I didn't know before.”

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