Jazz pianist Charles Thomas, who shunned the spotlight of touring with Duke Ellington’s band to play in his home state of Arkansas, died Nov. 23 of prostate cancer in Little Rock. He was 64.After Ellington’s death, the band leader’s orchestra asked Thomas to take his place on the piano. But he soon tired of taking the place of Ellington. He returned to Arkansas, and played at venues such as the Black Orchid in Hot Springs during the 1960s.
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