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 as the feeling harkens back to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers without in any way being imitative. And Mr. Do Everything Michael Thomas also wrote all but three of these tunes, mining the books of Sahib Shihab, Tina Brooks, and Mal Waldron for the other three. From Waldron's book he beautifully essays the ever-lovely "Soul Eyes" as a quartet feature for his flugelhorn.
Elsewhere the chores are shared roundly by Thomas' mates the edgy tenor saxman Zack Graddy, bassist Kent Miller, drummer Frank Williams lV, pianist Darius Scott, and he broadens the band on two tracks with the energetic altoist Antonio Parker. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Tense Moments - 9:12 Rue De La Harpe (Sahib Shahab) 7:28 The Little Individual - 11:47 The Messenger - 6:49 Soul Eyes (Mal Waldron) - 7:36 The Warm Up (Interlude) - 0:44 Mike's Blues - 8:22 Subtle Thoughts - 5:52 Back To The Tracks (Tina Brooks) - 7:01 Mike's Little Samba - 8:53
Personnel: Michael Thomas - Trumpet/Flugelhorn Zack Graddy - Tenor Saxophone Darius Scott - Piano Kent Miller - Bass Frank Williams IV - Drums (*)Antonio Parker - Alto Saxophone * - special guest
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.