Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

136

Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues

Walter Atkins By

Sign in to view read count
Earl Thomas Returns to Biscuits & Blues
Earl Thomas Homecoming
Biscuits & Blues
San Francisco, CA
July 7, 2017

Earl Thomas and his potent band ignited the enthusiastic audience at San Francisco's Biscuits & Blues, located near Union Square. Vocalist Thomas' band featured: guitarist and band leader Ben Zinn, drummer Mark Lamson, keyboardist Noah Williams, bassist Tim McNalley, trumpeter Julian Davis and trombonist Erik Dewhirst. Thomas, the consummate showman, said it was a pleasure playing his first gig in 6 years at the storied blues venue, and graciously thanked Steven (B&B owner Steven Suen) for the opportunity. He talked about missing his extended family and friends from northern California's Trinidad, located in Humboldt County. When he lived in the pleasant seaside city, he attended nearby Humboldt State University.

Thomas jumped into his first set with "Howlin" from his current album Crow (Earl Thomas Music, 2016) and the evening just took off from there. Rock and R&B delivered in his zestful style was exciting to watch, and he also promised a special surprise later in the concert.

With a wicked smile, he talked to the ladies about relationships and why they should buy his album. "Not healthy relationships, the dysfunctional ones. The co-dependents. Where your driving at 3 am looking for his car in another girl's driveway. Buy the CD and play track eight ("I Don't Believe It") every time he comes home." Other songs in the hi octane evening were: "Shot Gun Wedding," "She's My Baby," "Somebody's Callin,'" "Some Kind of Song," "Do I Know You," "High Life," "Let Me Be Your Car," "Lead A Horse to Water," "Happiness," "Love School," and "It's Not The Spotlight." The vibrant singer also did a touching ballad with trumpeter Thomas on "Tennessee Whiskey."

Thomas a fine storyteller, shared his memories about growing up in Pikeville, a small town in Tennessee. He owned a transistor radio that he rigged with a coat hanger antenna wrapped around a kitchen cabinet door. When held in just the right position, he could pick up a distant Nashville radio station's faint signal. Thomas would listen to an unknown singer that he liked, but could never quite catch his name. One evening, the family had gathered around the television to watch the American Music Awards. When one of the performers came on and started singing his song, the young Thomas jumped up yelling, "That's him! That's him!" His mystery voice was Rod Stewart, the soccer loving English rocker, and the tune was "Tonight's The Night." His family gave him some incredulous looks and comments.

On the next day his father, "made the 100 mile round trip to Nashville," and he picked up his first two Stewart albums, Atlantic Crossing (Warner Brothers, 1975) and Night On The Town (Warner Brothers, 1976). Thomas commented on his cool Dad and how much he appreciated him. Despite Stewart being a major influence on Thomas, the two singers have not met to date. Sounds like a possible bucket list item.

The energetic singer's 'surprise' for his fans was the rising East Bay vocalist Marina Crouse. He heard Crouse online and knew immediately he wanted to work with her. They performed two mesmerizing duets for the boisterous B&B crowd. First up, was the cold bluesy Etta James standard "Rather Go Blind." Their intense soulful rendition brought the house to its feet. The second duet was a hip arrangement of the Beatles' "A Little Help From My Friends." This novel treat was heartily enjoyed by all. Beth, one of his long time fans proclaimed, "He's amazing!" and she liked his "dramatic" stage presence. The rambunctious hoots and howls from the house throughout the night confirmed this.

Thomas used to play B&B regularly for years before traveling and performing internationally. Beth commented he visited Trinidad Elementary to encourage and support young performers and also donated his time and energy to fundraisers. "He Loves his community. He is beloved in San Francisco, Trinidad, as well as in San Diego. He has a very large fan base in Switzerland and in other parts of Europe. He has a huge following of people that love his spirit and his amazing talent wherever he goes."

Earl Thomas and his band's electrifying return to Biscuits & Blues was a solid start that should guarantee future appearances. With guest Marina Crouse, the night of stunning music went down smooth as Tennessee whiskey.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook Live Reviews Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano" Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "Rigas Ritmi 2017" Live Reviews Rigas Ritmi 2017
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Brilliant Corners 2017" Live Reviews Brilliant Corners 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below" Live Reviews Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at Levitt Pavilion" Live Reviews Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at Levitt Pavilion
by Geoff Anderson
Published: September 1, 2017