Music News

Michael Thomas Quintet

Washington, D.C.-based trumpeter Michael Thomas brings his smoking-hot quintet to town for a night of blistering hard bop meets Philly swing. After graduating from Grambling University, Thomas performed with Frank Foster, who was directing the famous Count Basie Orchestra at the time. He sharpened his chops and technique playing with the likes of Jimmy Heath, Buck Hill, Betty Carter and Webster Young. Gaining confidence and experience, his Quintet -- Thomas, pianist Darius Scott, saxophonist Zach Graddy, contrabassist Kent Miller and drummer Frank Williams -- built its powerhouse sound through extensive gigging in New York's brutally critical club and jam-session scene. The group's interplay is tighter than a clenched fist, and its sense of unspoken direction is remarkable. Thomas's Hubbard-like lyricism and precision solos are pure vintage fury mixed with hip, controlled, contemporary sensibilities. Those who gravitate toward that old Blue Note sound should check out his first album, The Messenger, which is a tribute of sorts to Art Blakey.
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Shawn Bauer