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Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas
November 23, 1999
Age 64
 
Prostate Cancer 
 
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Jazz pianist Charles Thomas, who shunned the  
spotlight of touring with Duke Ellington's band to play in his homestate of  
Arkansas, died Tuesday of prostate cancer. He was 64.  

During his career, Thomas headlined numerous jazz festivals and accompanied  
vocalists such as Tony Bennett. After Ellington's death, the band leader's  
orchestra asked Thomas to take his place on the piano.  

But Thomas's tour with the Duke Ellington Orchestra didn't last long. Thomas  
``got tired of being Duke Ellington - he wanted to be Charlie Thomas,'' said  
his longtime manager, Jim Porter.  

Thomas returned to Arkansas and played at venues such as the Black Orchid in  
Hot Springs during the 1960s. 

    
  
 
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