Tribute to an exceptional human being : a veteran, father of three and an amazing musician and artist
“Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you.”
-- Charlie Parker
( Interview to one of his 3 brothers, Scott, on Addison’s birthday- June 3)
When was he born and where?
Addison Steele Thompson was born in 1960 in New Jersey. He was the youngest of four sons. We are Mark, Chris Addison and me.
How was his childhood?
Well, as he was the youngest, he was still ridng bicycles as most kids. We brothers are born 2 years apart. We grew up in Kansas and then moved to Palm Beach, Florida, then to Connecticut.
Addy was a big guy: he was solid. He would stand for every friend he had! He was always there for the ones in need. He is a good hearted man, the best friend someone could have. We stand together.
Where did he go to school?
He went to Darien High School in Connecticut. He was a trouble maker (like all of us) but mostly because he defended his friends. He was always a fair man, an individual of principles and law believer.
When did he serve his country and what was his duty?
As I mentioned, he was keen on justice; he wanted to make a difference in the world. My Dad wanted all of us to join the Army. I was totally against it – the Vietnam war was going on and I was a peacemake; Mark joined and served in the US. Army radar unit in Germany, Chris moved to New York City to college and Then Addy also joined the Army and was a tank gunner, in Germany. Both my veteran brothers served during peacetime.
When he came back he was jacked! A big dude ; he was the youngest and the biggest of all the four sons.
How is his family formed?
He married Viola Gamberdella, a very strong and marvelous woman. They had two beautiful daughters and an awesome son. He is an affectionate father and brother. Moreover, we were raised by caring, loving parents- we were lucky; our house was full of love and respect. We were a united household and today, the four sons, still follow that line. We call each other on the phone every day just to check or to share something. Believe me, each one of us would take a bullet for the other guy. If you mess with one of us, you are in trouble with all the Thompson’s.
What does he do for a living?
Addy worked in the top ad agencies in Westport, CT and he was an outsanding professional ; he is now a freelancer. Moreover, Chris and Addison are both jazz players. Chris picked the trumpet and Addy plays the alto sax and he does it very well. His idol is Charlie (Bird) Parker.
He’s got my mom’s genes- she was a painter. He is the artist of the family. Addy is amazing: he paints with water colours, acrylics, he makes sketches with charcoal. He is gifted.
What does he like doing?
Apart from music and painting, he loves the NFL Kansas City Chiefs! We grew up in Kansas-; he is a fan! He’s a brawler; never back down from a fight. He felt no fear; he just stood up for you. Period. He is still that guy, faithful, caring and brave.
Many! Once, after he wrecked the car ,he came to a restaurant I worked at – we started fighting and were rolling down the hill and two guys paused to see what was going on and we stopped, look at each other – and we went after them. It was pretty funny. I love the guy!
So you are an artistic kind of family, aren’t you?
Sure, we are a musical, cultural and compassionate kind of family but we are tough.
After listening to Scott, all I can say is Happy Birthday Addison, you have a family that deeply loves you!
Photographs: courtesy of the author.