|Decades:||1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s|
13 May 1938, Detroit, Michigan, USA, d. 29 June 2006, St. Augustine, Florida, USA. After formal studies Tompkins began playing piano in various small groups in New York City. Although most often in company with mainstream musicians such as Wes Montgomery, Bob Brookmeyer, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Clark Terry, he was also at ease with the more adventurous Eric Dolphy. Tompkins spent time working in radio and television studios in New York, later resuming this activity in Los Angeles. For over 20 years he was in Doc Severinsens band preforming on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. He continued to record extensively, appeared at festivals and club dates with musicians such as Marshal Royal, Herb Ellis, Louie Bellson, Joe Venuti, Ray Brown, Conte Candoli and Scott Hamilton. A solid ensemble player and accompanist, Tompkins was also an inventive soloist, developing long, flowing lines of deceptive simplicity.