Charles Williams Quintet feat. Sharon Thompson
Charles Williams is a Kansas City musician, pianist, trombonist, band leader, private piano instructor, producer, writer, and clinician/educator. Charles is current pianist for the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and has been since its beginning. As a performer, Charles plays at many local venues with his own trio, accompanying many local vocalist, and pianist for The Louis Neal Jazz Orchestra. Mr. Williams is very dedicated to supporting the American Jazz Museum & Blue Room.
Artist Mr. Williams has backed multiple award-winning artists including, Ernie Andrews, Houston Person, Harold Jones, Clark Terry, Randy Brecker, Bobby Watson, Deborah Brown, Ann Hampton Callaway, New York Voices, Wycliffe Gordon, The Four Freshmen, Cannonball & Nat Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach & many more. Charles has an Associate in Arts Degree from Penn Valley CC and also studied at the UMKC Conservatory.
Ms. Thompson began her career singing in the church choir as a child. After entering a talent contest in 1973 and winning 3rd place, she was asked to be a member of a newly formed girl’s group with 2 other contestants. After performing with the group for few years, Ms. Thompson moved to Los Angeles, CA and became a member of the local group Kaleidoscope performing at various hotels, clubs and private functions where they covered R&B tunes.
Throughout her career she has opened for various national acts, performed the National Anthem for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals, inaugural balls for former Mayors Emanuel Cleaver II and Kay Barnes along with continued private functions and benefits.
Ms. Thompson added to her achievements as being one of the first African American women on the “Mahogany” collection of Hallmark Card. She performed in various theatrical plays winning a Drama Desk Award as Best Actress in a Musical in 1996 for her one-woman performance as Hattie McDaniel the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Gone With the Wind” as “Hi Hat Hattie”, with the play also winning Best Director and Best Musical of the year. She also went on to do voice-overs for various radio commercials.
Currently, Ms. Thompson can be seen singing in her local church where she has been a licensed and ordained minister since 2005. She decided to return to college where she received a Doctorate degree in Theology.