Each morning of fourth grade—her first school year in Louisiana—the eldest Thompson child had to be dialed in. There was no way Ms. Maniscalco could’ve known, but the chocolate kisses she gave to the first person who finished their multiplication and division problems were Annie’s only potential source of food until dinner.
Now, a portrait of the vibist as a young man. From Southern California, J.C. started on piano when he was six, but it wasn’t his main passion (get it?). “I wasn’t a good practicer,” he told me. “It was casual.” That is, until the day his middle-school band teacher asked if he wanted to play vibes. And he’s been hip ever since.