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Thomas got bit by the jazz bug in the late '70s while in high school, and began playing the alto saxophone, clarinet and flute in various classical and jazz ensembles there. In college, where he minored in Music, he continued pursuing jazz as host of a music show and member of the Hamilton College Big Band. Thomas had the great honor of playing first alto sax chair when living legend Clark Terry came to play a concert on April 17, 1984. In a recent interview with fellow jazz journalist Willard Jenkins, Thomas described the experience of sharing a melody line with Terry as "an epiphany, a mystical experience of musical ecstasy."
His byline has been featured in numerous publications, including All About Jazz, Salon.com, London's Guardian Observer, American Legacy, Africana.com, Savoy, BlackAmericaWeb.com, New York's Daily News, The Black World Today, Callaloo, among others, for instance, Harlem World magazine, for which Thomas was founding Editor-in-Chief.
Thomas has taught jazz education on behalf of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and at the Thurgood Marshall Academy and the Frederick Douglass Academy for the Jazz Museum's Harlem Speaks Education Initiative.
He's been a member of the Jazz Study Group at Columbia University since 1999. Thomas hosts a monthly jazz radio program on WBAI-NY and an online jazz series, Jazz it Up!, which has garnered a viewership of nearly 3 million since its launch in 2007. His objective is to share his love and passion for jazz on as many media platforms as possible to reach current and new audiences for the music.
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