Jazz pianist Bob Thompson has enjoyed a long and active career as a performer, composer, arranger, and teacher. For decades he has played in West Virginia, and at festivals and venues around the country, including the Blue Note in New York, Blues Alley in Washington D.C. and the Newport Jazz Festival in Saratoga, NY. He has also taken his music to Europe, Africa, and South America. In December 2022 he was featured at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts playing solo piano as part of “A Jazz Piano Christmas”, which was broadcast on NPR. Bob Thompson was also a guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, on National Public Radio.
Since 1991 Bob Thompson has been pianist, and regularly featured artist on West Virginia Public Broadcasting's NPR syndicated radio show, Mountain Stage. For the past thirty years he has also been co-producer and host of Joy to the World, a Holiday jazz show featuring Bob’s band, and each year, a special guest vocalist. The show is broadcast nationally on public radio stations.
In October 2015, Bob Thompson was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
In addition to performing, Bob has always been a teacher. Over the past fifty years he has developed his own method of introducing people to the fundamentals of jazz and popular music. He does this through private instruction, workshops and clinics at universities such as Ohio University, Moorehead State University, Marshall University, and the University of Charleston. Bob also teaches at events such as the Augusta Heritage Festival.
Many of his former students are enjoying successful careers in music. Bob loves to open the door for people to develop their ability to create.
For over 30 years, Bob Thompson has been co-producer and host of Joy to the World, a holiday jazz show broadcast on public radio stations nationwide. The West Virginia Public Broadcasting show features Bob's band and is a beloved tradition for many listeners. The show's mission is to "spread joy and goodwill through the music of the season." The music featured on the show is a mix of traditional holiday songs and jazz standards and each year Bob welcomes a special guest.
Former guest vocalists on Joy to the World over the years: Catherine Russell, Kim Nalley, Paula Cole, Jane Monheit, Alan Harris, Meredith Dean Augustin, Mollie O'Brien, Lena Seikaly, Heather Masse. Diane Marino, Dominique Eade, Julie Adams, Fontella Bass, Susan Werner, Zara Bode, Rodney Boyden, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. , Dwight Lenox, Tom Lellis, Kendra Foster, Mira Stanley,Toni Lynn Washington, Angie Richardson, Ethel Caffie-Austin and Jan Banks
The show is recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, West Virginia.