All About Jazz

Home » Member Page

Lizzie Thomas

Vocalist and musician Lizzie Thomas has made a name for herself in NYC as a swinging, sultry vocalist with a beautiful stage presence. She captivates her audience with the rare ability to sing with absolute precision on lightning speed tempos, with melodi

About Me

Vocalist and musician Lizzie Thomas has made a name for herself in NYC as a swinging, sultry vocalist with a beautiful stage presence. She captivates her audience with the rare ability to sing with absolute precision on lightning speed tempos, with melodic freedom and control. Her fourth album release, New Sounds from the Jazz Age, is an innovative interpretation of nine classic standards from the American Songbook. She creates music that stops time.

She studied classical piano at age 8, clarinet at 10, before her voice was discovered at 12. Ms Thomas graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance with graduate studies in Music Education from Belmont University in Nashville TN, where she honed her craft under the celebrated Sandra Dudley. With Sandra, she found her highly personal musical expression with jazz and the American Songbook. It wasn’t hard to fall under the spell of jazz. Ms Thomas says, “I fell in love with the improvisational spirit of jazz and the emotions proclaimed and evoked.” Diving into the work of the masters, led her to realize that “Ella(Fitzgerald) makes me smile, Billie(Holiday) keeps me honest, and Cole Porter keeps me intrigued.

She then moved to New York City where she has made a name for herself as a sultry swinging vocalist deep in the tradition of jazz. She has won high praise working with many including Russell Malone, Jay Leonhart, Xavier Davis, Alvester Garnett, Michael Kanan, Ron Affif, Frank Lacy, Antoine Drye, Pasquale Grasso and John Colianni. Ms. Thomas has captivated audiences with her performances in clubs, restaurants, private parties and the NYC lounge scene. She has also held down a monthly residency at 90 Thompson St in Soho, New York City for nine years. Lizzie has produced three albums; More Than You Know (2010), Easy to Love (2013), and a timeless holiday offering Santa Baby (2014).

NEW SOUNDS FROM THE JAZZ AGE 2020 RELEASE: Ms. Thomas will celebrate 2020 with the release of her ambitious fourth album, New Sounds from the Jazz Age. It is an innovative interpretation of nine classic standards from the American Songbook. Ms. Thomas lends her formidable musicianship to tackling the demanding tempos in the music - from charts performed at breakneck speeds such as George Gershwin's “Fascinating Rhythm,” to the slow burning indigo blue “Close your Eyes,” and the ever changing keys and moods found in “You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To” and “Cheek To Cheek.” The whole album swings with innovative arrangements and heartfelt lyricism. On New Sounds from the Jazz Age Ms. Thomas does a marvelous job of bringing out new adventurous facets of the songs we know and love. The album opens with “Fascinating Rhythm” one of two songs on which Ms. Thomas is joined by the incomparable clarinetist Felix Peikli. Here the vocalist introduces the song with unexpected rhythm followed by smoky vocals that bring tingles to the spine. She then moves so quickly into the lyrics, your left wondering ”What just happened?” The album’s joyousness continues with an intoxicating version of “Our Love is Here to Stay” which begins with a brief intimate solo played by Russell Malone. The arrangement is gorgeously fluid, with the sweet and effortless voice of Ms. Thomas leading the rest of the ensemble into a beguiling version of the song. “I Didn't Know About You” a riveting, lesser known Ellington song, also features the magical work of Russell Malone and introduces Omar Daniels on tenor sax. Ms. Thomas shows her musical prowess by making the music bridge the space between the singer and the listener. “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” opens with a Rock-N-Roll riff on Sinatra’s “To Go Traveling” as Ms Thomas brings the heart of the Porter tune seductively into the palm of your hand with a sultry voice. “In the Still Of The Night” begins with a Latin groove before the rhythmic line alternates with a gently swinging tempo. Ms. Thomas' voice pierces the song's darkness in all its pristine beauty. Her instrument is gorgeous; lustrous and fierce as she digs into the meaning of each word in the lyric. Antonio Carlos Jobim's classic chart “One Note Samba” is, perhaps the biggest surprise, while maintaining the shuffling samba beat, Ms. Thomas swings her way through it with magical rhythmic control as she re-invents Jobim's easy lyric turning it into something brilliant and vivid. On many of the songs Ms. Thomas lets her unique sense of drama shine. “Cheek To Cheek” is one such song. By bridging mid-tempo choruses with a kind of operatic aria, she unfolds a sensitive yet stirring setting of the lyric by enunciating it in equal measures of angelic purity and commanding vocal presence. “Close Your Eyes” brings back Felix Peikli and Ms. Thomas responds to the clarinet, by weaving her melodious voice with it’s distinctive sound. The album closes with a heartfelt version of “The Very Thought Of You” cast in the sensuality of an Afro-Caribbean rhythm, Ms. Thomas brings a spontaneity to the portrayal of the character in the song infusing it with an unmatched freshness. The album New Sounds from the Jazz Age is significant because it recognizes and builds on the wonderful reality of the traditional songs. What we hear is a uniquely beautiful and provocative new sound. Secondly, having selected this repertoire herself, she turned things over to pianist and musical collaborator John Colianni to shape the arrangements and provide musical direction in the studio. Mr. Colianni’s arrangements were written in celebration of Ms. Thomas’ ability to vocalise on racing tempos, effortlessly pivot between styles and key changes and dig deep into the rich complexities of Ellington, Porter, and Gershwin. Ms Thomas and Mr. Colianni are joined on this date by renowned bassist Jay Leonhart, who also shares the bass chair with Boots Maleson. Guitar duties are shared by Russell Malone and Matt Chertkoff. Bernard Linette occupies the drum chair, while percussion colourist Doug Hendrichs bolsters the rhythm section. Note worthy is a miracle of sound engineering brought off by one of NYC's best - Peter Karl, who created an intimate and authentic ambience of an early jazz club by placing all of the musicians within touching distance of one another in a single room to create the dynamic sound of a “live” recording. All of this makes New Sounds from the Jazz Age an album that music lovers and jazz aficionados will listen to over and over again.

Track list: 1: Fascinating Rhythm 
2: Our Love is Here To Stay 
3: I Didn't Know About You 
4: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To 
5: In the Still Of The Night
6: One Note Samba
7: Cheek To Cheek
8: Close Your Eyes 
9: The Very Thought Of You

Personnel: Lizzie Thomas vocals 
John Colianni piano 
Jay Leonhart bass (2,3,4,6) 
Boots Maleson bass (1,5,7,8,9) 
Russell Malone guitar (2,3,4) appears courtesy of HighNote 
Matt Chertkoff guitar (1,5,6,7,8,9) 
Omar Daniels tenor sax, flute 
Felix Peikli clarinet (1,8)
Bernard Linnette drums 
Doug Hindrichs percussion

My Jazz Story

Vocalist and musician Lizzie Thomas came to jazz when she realized that it is a purely American art form: It’s steeped in tradition and allows for endless innovation. “I can call a tune for the rest of my life and I will never sing it the same way. That's freedom,” she says, “that's provocative - that's jazz.”

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.