Although jazz comprises no more than 4% of CD sales nationally, there exists a cornucopia of good to excellent jazz musiciansfemale vocalists, pianists, and saxophonists especially. You can put 44-year-old Baltimore native Gary Thomas in the "excellent" column. Having played with trumpeters Miles Davis and Wallace Roney, Thomas is currently the Director of Jazz Studies at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. At the time of the Wolfwalk recording in June of last year, Swedish-born bassist Joel Grip and drummer Devin Gray were both students there.
While he's respected among jazz musicians for his forward thinking, the public's awareness of Thomas sadly remains low. Wolfwalk will hopefully change that. The new trio date walks the line between modern mainstream and free jazz, tilting more towards the latter. The seven original compositions, which almost blend into one fifty-minute extended piece, are characterized by the dark, brooding, searching sound of Thomas' saxophone, coupled with the beefy, full bass of Grip and the gentle explosions of Gray. Listening closely to one another, the three take the music where their impulses dictatethe outer, yet still accessible realms of jazz music. Wolfwalk is cutting edge. True jazz fans will find this music enlightening.
Gryphus Medley; Slow Bluuesss; Who
Devin Gray: drums; Joel Grip: bass; Gary Thomas: tenor saxophone.