Jasen Thompson

Jasen Thompson

Currently working on new urban contemporary songs for an upcoming debut album, Fayetteville, North Carolina based saxophonist Jasen Thompson brings a fascinating life history into his emerging career as a solo performer and artist. Born and raised in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he began to play the sax in 5th grade, taught by his grandfather, who also taught many musicians on the island to play. Along with learning the saxophone, Thompson’s father taught him to play keyboards. He grew up listening to island music, like reggae and calypso, and was also influenced by distinctly American forms like R&B, traditional jazz and smooth jazz, which he began listening to in high school. His influences range from Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and Cannonball Adderley to Grover Washington, Jr., Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum.
A standout in his middle school concert band and later the symphonic band, jazz band and marching band in high school, he moved to the United States to study Music Education at Fayetteville State University. He based his choice on two key things: one of the students his grandfather had taught in St. Thomas had been a band director at the college, and Thompson’s brother Glenville was also a student there. At FSU, he studied saxophone with Timothy Chambers.
Wanting to expand beyond his contemporary jazz interests and further his education in traditional jazz, he later earned Master of Music in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University. At NCCU, he studied with other outstanding jazz educators and performers, including Dr. Ira Wiggins and Branford Marsalis. Thompson developed his skills in classical performance with Chambers and Dr. Susan Fancher, saxophone lecturer at Duke University. As a music teacher in the North Carolina public school system, Thompson taught general music at Terrell Lane Middle School in Louisburg, NC, a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. He says, “I like being a teacher, but I also love performing music. I have always had goals and dreams about being a recording and performing artist, and I am currently taking the first steps to accomplish them. I really love playing the sax and have been doing it so long that it is definitely part of me. I’m so grateful for my grandfather’s talent and wisdom and that he took the time to teach me an instrument that has become my life’s greatest passion.”

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