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Michael Thomas

Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer, and arranger Michael Thomas has been an active member of the New York City jazz community since arriving in 2011. Holding degrees from the University of Miami, New England Conservatory, and The Juilliard School, Michael has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including tours in Central and South America, Australia, Europe, Japan, and Russia. He has appeared as a sideman with Brad Mehldau, Dafnis Prieto, Nicholas Payton, Miguel Zenón, Etienne Charles, and Jason Palmer, and Michael’s talents can be heard on over 30 recordings. According to the New York Times, Michael writes “energetic, tuneful music for both combos and large ensembles”, and All About Jazz describes his playing as “a particular revelation, as he provides superb, well-crafted solos”.

Michael has been commissioned by school and professional ensembles throughout the United States and abroad, and he is currently a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York City. Since 2015, Michael has co-lead the Terraza Big Band, and the ensemble’s GRAMMY-nominated first album, One Day Wonder, was released in May 2019 on Outside In Music. Michael’s work has been recognized by DownBeat magazine as well as the “Keep an Eye” competition in Amsterdam, NL, and in 2020 he was chosen by the USAF Airmen of Note as the winner of the Sammy Nestico Award. Michael also participated in the New York Youth Symphony’s First Music commission series in 2016, and he continues to work as an arranger and orchestrator for clients around the world. In addition to his work as a big band composer, Michael also regularly leads his quartet, releasing Event Horizon in May 2020 on GiantStep Arts.

Since September 2018, Michael has been on faculty at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music as an Artist Teacher of jazz saxophone in the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Institute.

Michael is a Boston Sax Shop Artist, and he plays exclusively on mouthpieces handcrafted by John Thomas of Thomas Woodwinds.


Liner Notes

Ark Ovrutski: 44/33

Read "Ark Ovrutski: 44/33" reviewed by Howard Mandel

Wherever a jazz musician starts their professional journey, he or she must come to grips with what one must do to create a personal approach based on technique, imagination and feeling. Composer and bassist Ark Ovrutski likes to say that since the age of 20 he has been an “international homeless traveller." But with the release of 44/33, his third album as a leader, Ark proves he has arrived. With its program of bright melodies, tight ensemble collaboration, ...

Album Review

Michael Thomas: Event Horizon

Read "Event Horizon" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Jimmy Katz seems to really be onto something with his Giant Step Arts label. Begun in 2018, the label has established a tradition of recording live performances by modern jazz musicians given complete freedom of repertoire and personnel. That approach has produced several outstanding releases including, earlier this year, The Concert: 12 Musings For Isabella, (Giant Step Arts, 2020) by trumpeter Jason Palmer, who also appears on the label's latest release, this time as a sideman for alto saxophonist Michael ...

Radio & Podcasts

Michael Thomas, Joshua Redman, Marie Kruttli, Brad Mehldau and More New Releases

Read "Michael Thomas, Joshua Redman, Marie Kruttli, Brad Mehldau and More New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

It has been more or less a month since our last episode devoted to new and upcoming releases, so it's time to catch up as so much great music has been coming out, some of it to raise funds for worthy causes. So sit back, put your headphones on and enjoy the latest by Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Michael Thomas, Marie Kruttli, Pericopes+1, Ernesto Cervini and more. Happy listening! Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted ...

Album Review

John Lake: Seven Angels

Read "Seven Angels" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Compelling is the first word that comes to mind in describing John Lake's debut record as a leader. Eight Lake originals, adjoined by three reimagined tunes from the past, comprise Seven Angels. A seasoned studio musician and sideman, Lake knew his time had come. He is joined by five stellar musicians who collectively build a liquid sextet. A lesser known artist doesn't have the luxury of time. He/she has to grab attention quickly. With that in mind, Lake ...

Album Review

Michael Thomas: The Messenger

Read "The Messenger" reviewed by Willard Jenkins

For DC-based trumpeter Michael Thomas this initial release is the result of a true labor of love. Not one to wait for a record label to come knocking at his door, Thomas seized the initiative himself, not only starting his own label and releasing his own debut disc, but also developing his own home studio to lay down these 10 persuasive tracks. Thomas has a brass proud trumpeter's arrogance in sound but not demeanor. The title is an apt one ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Seven Angels

Outside in Music


Event Horizon

Giant Step Arts





The Messenger

JazHead Entertainment




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