Northeast Tacoma’s Marine View Church will host jazz veteran Jay Thomas and his band The Cantaloupes at a concert Sunday, Feb. 10, 5 p.m.
Thomas, a native of Seattle, is a versatile multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto, tenor, soprano saxophones and flutes). His music could be described as earthy and lyrical with the blues and swing always in evidence. Thomas grew up in the fertile atmosphere of Seattle’s 60’s jazz scene sometimes subbing for Quincy Jones alumnus Floyd Standifer while still in high school. Clubs such as the “H.O.E.” (otherwise known as the House of Entertainment) and the Black and Tan and the Llahngaelhyn figured prominently in Thomas’ early years of trial and error music making. The end of 1968 saw Thomas move to New York, where he worked and studied for several years. Highlights include gigging for a summer with Machito’s Latin band, recording for James Moody on the Perception label and taking private lessons with Carmine Caruso. Three years later Thomas added flute and tenor to his repertoire. Through the mid-70s while living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Thomas met Jessica Williams and went on to record on three of her albums.
Thomas moved back to Seattle in 1978 and became a frequent member of the house band at Parnell’s Jazz Club. At Parnell’s, Thomas became friends with jazz masters Zoot Sims and Sal Nistico, among others. Two albums, “Easy Does It” on Discovery Records and “Blues for McVouty” on Stash Records, featured Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins. “360 Degrees” on Hep Records and “Rapture” on Jazz Focus continued to establish Thomas’s reputation. Thomas’s albums from McVouty Records titled “Live at Tula’s” (Volume 1 and Volume 2) and “12th and Jackson Blues” were live performances and have the feel of the clubs where Thomas was first baptized into the world of jazz.
Thomas recorded with Herb Ellis on “Roll Call” and with Bud Shank on “On the Trail.” Two recordings have Thomas teamed up with jazz greats Ray Brown (“Blues for Dexter,” Wolfetones Records) and Elvin Jones (“Jones for Elvin,” Hip City Records). Today, Thomas is a member of one of Japan’s leading big bands, CUG (Continued in the Underground) Jazz Orchestra, and co-leads a sextet with Kohama Yasuhiro and Atsushi Ikeda. Thomas tours in Japan, recording and performing, several times a year. He is also a member of SRJO (Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra). Thomas is also involved with passing the music on to future generations. He is an adjunct professor at Cornish College of the Arts, and works at the renowned Garfield High School, tutoring kids in improvisation. Thomas often does clinics and workshops at universities in the United States and Japan and is an instructor in several prominent jazz camps each summer.
Also appearing as part of his Cantaloupes Ensemble are five other talented regional musicians: John Hansen on piano, Michael Glynn on bass, Adam Kessler on drums, Mike Van Bebber on trumpet and flugelhorn and Dan Marcus on trombone and flugabone. Don’t miss an amazing showcase combining modern jazz with hard bop and boogaloo.
Admission is free to all ages at Marine View Church, 8469 Eastside Dr. N.E., Tacoma.
For information, visit www.marineviewpc.org.