Basic Background Info

Birth: December 11, 1948
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Band: Genesis, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Era
Genres: Jazz, Rock, Pop
Instruments: Drums, Keyboards
Occupation: Musician, Instructor



Chester Cortez Thompson, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, is a well-versed drummer of nearly every imaginable genre. At just thirteen, Chester Thompson began playing in local clubs. After growing out of the nightclub scene in Baltimore, Chester Thompson moved on to larger musical cities. Chester Thompson made a name for himself as a studio drummer in Los Angeles and London.

Capitalizing on his studio experience, Chester Thompson began touring heavily. In 1973 and 1974, Chester toured with Frank Zappa and recorded several records including One Size Fits All, Roxy & Elsewhere, and Overnite Sensation. Chester Thompson also played extensively with Genesis from 1977 up through their 2007 reunion tour. Chester accompanied Phil Collins on his solo concert tours as well. Interestingly, Chester Thompson also performed on Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett's albums and pianist Tokyo Banks's albums. Chester Thompson recorded the solo album A Joyful Noise in the 1990s, which was very well received. According to All Music Guide, "Few contemporary jazz drummers attempt to become solo artists, but the ones who have--Alex Acuna, Dave Weckl and Danny Gottlieb, for example--have succeeded quite well. Add Thompson to the list of those who have an amazing knack for melody and who know how to surround themselves with good players. A Joyful Noise is an appropriate title for this disc."

Chester Thompson's playing style is well respected among professionals and fans like. "Chester's masterful subtleties and unyielding time create the firm musical foundation for any musical genre. Every time Chester plays he gives 110% - there is no such thing as practice."

Chester Thompson and his family now call Nashville, Tennessee, their home. Although Chester Thompson continues to perform live and in studios, he is truly invested in teaching. Chester is an adjunct professor at Belmont University, where he teaches applied drum classes and small jazz groups.
Chester Thompson frequently plays Organ and Keyboards with funk powerhouse Tower of Power.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1974 Breeding of Mind O'Donel Levy
1974 Confidential Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart
1974 Dawn of a New Day O'Donel Levy
1974 Roxy & Elsewhere Frank Zappa & the Mothers
1975 Bongo Fury Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart
1975 One Size Fits All Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention
1975 Rise Sleeping Beauty Lenny Williams
1976 Black Market Weather Report
1976 Yesterday's Dreams Alphonso Johnson
1977 Seconds Out Genesis
1977 Sky Islands Caldera
1977 Slaves Mass Hermeto Pascoal
1978 Everyday Everynight Flora Purim
1978 Follow You Follow Me Genesis
1978 Light Year David Pritchard
1978 Please Don't Touch! Steve Hackett
1978 Studio Tan Frank Zappa
1979 Curious Feeling Tony Banks
1979 Love Connection Freddie Hubbard
1979 Sleep Dirt Frank Zappa
1980 Night Song Ahmad Jamal
1980 Remington Electric Razor Frank Zappa
1981 Splash Freddie Hubbard
1982 Three Sides Live Genesis
1983 Serious Music Frank Zappa
1984 Mama Tour Live [Video] Genesis
1984 That's the Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk Various Artists
1986 It Takes Two Rodney Franklin
1986 Solitude/Solitaire Peter Cetera
1988 Breakfast for Dinosaurs The Fowler Brothers
1988 Invisible Touch Live Genesis
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage (Sampler) Frank Zappa
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 Frank Zappa
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2 Frank Zappa
1989 Cross Currents Richard Souther
1989 Fire Merchants Fire Merchants
1989 Selected Sadao Watanabe
1989 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 Frank Zappa
1990 Knebworth: The Album Various Artists
1990 Serious Hits...Live! Phil Collins
1990 Supplement Tape Frank Zappa
1991 All I Want for Christmas Original Soundtrack
1991 All Nations Worship Tom Brooks
1991 Joyful Noise Chester Thompson
1991 Last Blue Sky Steve Fowler
1991 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 Frank Zappa
1992 All Nations Worship Mark Connor
1992 Genesis Live: The Way We Walk, Vol. 1 (The Shorts) Genesis
1992 Heartscapes Tom Fowler
1992 Lift Him Up Tom Brooks
1992 Three Sides Live [Video] Genesis
1992 Worship With Don Moen Don Moen
1993 Lucky Man Dave Koz
1993 Muir Woods Suite George Duke
1993 Tigress Sonya Jason
1994 God is Able Ron Kenoly
1994 Kathy Troccoli Kathy Troccoli
1994 Rebecca St. James Rebecca St. James
1994 Suddenly McGuire, Reba & Dony
1994 Three Sides Live [Remastered] Genesis
1995 Ants Can Count Bruce Fowler
1995 Cause I Love You: The Best of Lenny Williams Lenny Williams
1995 Entropy Bruce Fowler
1995 Jesus, Precious King Beverly Crawford
1995 Lift Him Up [Integrity] Ron Kenoly
1995 Moving Pictures Denny Jiosa
1995 Red Blooded Blues Various Artists
1995 Sing Out Ron Kenoly
1995 Unbelievable Love Larnelle Harris
1996 Come on Back Billy and Sarah Gaines
1996 Ghostrider/Great Guitar Hits Duane Eddy
1996 Identity Jimmy Wilson
1996 In My Lifetime Neil Diamond
1996 Inner Voices Denny Jiosa
1996 Lost Episodes Frank Zappa
1996 Love Is the Bottom Line Lisa Daggs
1996 L‰ther Frank Zappa
1996 Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era Various Artists
1996 Tennessee Moon Neil Diamond
1996 Touch the Ground Paul Q-Pek
1997 Andrew Oh Andrew Oh
1997 Blue Moon Swamp John Fogerty
1997 Blue Obsession Michael Mcdonald
1997 Cloud Eight New Identity
1997 Colors Kirk Whalum
1997 Genesis Files Steve Hackett
1997 High Places: The Best of Hosanna Music Ron Kenoly/Hosanna Music
1997 Running with the Wind Kevin Chalfant
1997 Third Coast Jazz Ensemble Various Artists
1997 Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited Steve Hackett
1997 We Need a Little Christmas Andy Williams
1997 You're the Inspiration: A Collection Peter Cetera
1998 Treading Water Karen Goldberg
1999 Among Friends Denny Jiosa
1999 Best of Duane Eddy Duane Eddy
1999 What Is Hip?: The Tower of Power Anthology Tower of Power
1999 X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective Brand X
2001 Cool Today, Jazz Tonight Joe Augustine
2001 Future History Jimmy Wilson
2001 Nitelife Martin Taylor
2002 Balls Napoleon Murphy Brock
2002 Best of Weather Report Weather Report
2002 Body 2 Body Denny Jiosa
2002 Live and Unreleased Weather Report
2002 Old Fool Back on Earth Michel Colombier
2002 Songs for a Purpose Driven Life Various Artists
2002 We Win! Alicia
2002 Zappa Picks Frank Zappa
2003 Man Behind the Music [4-CD Longbox Set] Claus Ogerman
2003 Simplicity Roy Vogt
2004 Blue Moon Swamp [Bonus Tracks] John Fogerty
2004 Finally... The First Farewell Tour [DVD] Phil Collins
2004 Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
2004 Genesis Revisited Steve Hackett
2004 Guitar & Bass Alphonso Johnson
2004 Man and His Music Claus Ogerman
2004 Quaudiophiliac Frank Zappa
2004 You're the Inspiration: A Collection Peter Cetera
2005 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection Donna Summer
2005 Anthology - The Soul-Jazz Fusion Years: 66-82 Freddie Hubbard
2005 Best of Martin Taylor Martin Taylor
2005 Godson of Soul Ellis Hooks
2005 Honeycomb Frank Black
2005 Mighty Wind AndraÈ Crouch
2005 Please Don't Touch! Steve Hackett
2005 Possibilities Herbie Hancock
2005 Soul Truth Shemekia Copeland
2006 Fast Man Raider Man Frank Black
2006 Forecast: Tomorrow Weather Report
2006 Peanuts Whalum Hugh Peanuts Whalum
2006 Smooth and Soulful: 20th Century Masters Various Artists
2006 Trinity [Bonus CD] Sean Paul
2007 1983-1998 [5CD/5DVD] Genesis
2007 Another Saturday Morning Ellis Hooks
2007 Booze, Brawds and Rockin Hard Chris Catena
2007 Dub Room Special Frank Zappa
2007 Genesis 1983-1998 [Bonus DVD] Genesis
2007 Genesis [CD/DVD] Genesis
2007 Hand of Fire O'Donel Levy
2007 Intuition Betty Harris
2007 Sofa King Blues Mason Casey
2007 Ultimate Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
2007 Multi-Dimensional Warrior Santana
2009 Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now/We Came to Play/Back on the Streets Tower of Power
2009 Anthology: 50 Years John Lee Hooker
2010 40th Anniversary Tower of Power
2011 Piano*Drum Christof Moser
2012 Highest Wish Bill Ortiz


  • Chester Thompson: "I was taught and do believe that rhythm dictates melody and melody dictates harmony."
  • Once when threatened in a neighborhood bar, Chester replied, "You don't really want to know how hard a drummer can hit."
  • When asked how he always plays the right thing, Chester responded, " It comes from God. You just close your eyes and let him take over."
  • Steve Hackett of Genesis said of Chester, "The thing you really notice about Chester when you're working with him is he seems to get better with each gig as he refines his part."

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Percussion: Meinl
Sticks: Regal Tip

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