Jazz pianist Earma Thompson dead at 86

July 16, 2009 10:14:42 AM PDT
Chicago has lost one its great jazz and blues pianists. In the male-dominated world of jazz, Earma Thompson was a female pioneer. For more than a half-century Earma Thompson was a significant figure in Chicago's music culture. Back in the 1940's she played at the Cotton Club with greats like Joe Williams and Billie Holiday.

Given the chance to go on the road with Holiday, she decided to stay close to home and raise her family.

Thompson died of heart failure at South Shore Hospital Wednesday at the age of 86.