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.