If Harvey Thompson had been a better 10-pin bowler, jazz would have been the loser.

"I never knew I'd be a jazz singer," says Thompson, whose smooth and smoky jazz vocals have won him a core of dedicated fans in his adopted country of Japan. "I wanted to be a professional bowler."

Thompson grew up with music in his native Detroit. "We had a family gospel group called the Thompson Spiritualettes. We played at churches and gospel revivals."