NEWARK — Area residents once again can chase away the winter blues with an upbeat evening of jazz January 11 at 8 p.m. in the Newark High School auditorium with trombonist/composer/educator Brian Thomas.
Joining Thomas, a Rochester native, at Winter Jazz will be the Rochester-based soul jazz trio “Paradigm Shift” with whom Thomas has performed.
An Ithaca College graduate who did his student teaching at NHS, Thomas began playing trombone at the age of 10. Through hard work and dedication, he now leads his own jazz quartet, big band, and funk power house Akashic Record that feature his original compositions.
As a freelance trombonist, Thomas has also performed with Soulive, Lettuce, Maceo Parker, Melvin Sparks, Sam Kininger, John Brown’s Body, Alan Evans Playonbrother Band, Eric Krasno, The Boston Horns, New England Jazz Educators Orchestra, Brass Force, The Hurricane Horns, Night Rhythm, and Pressure Cooker.
Thomas landed his first professional gig as a member of the Chuck Mangione Studio Orchestra. As co-founder of Ithaca based funk/jam band Nozmo King, Thomas and NK produced two CD's and toured from Seattle, Washington to Key West, Florida. After multiple tours with Boston/Ithaca based roots reggae band John Brown's Body, he settled in Boston where he studied with Jeff Galindo and Hal Crook. He started showing up to all the Boston jam sessions and soon landed a weekly gig hosting the “funk night” at the legendary Wally's Jazz Café, where he continued to work on his craft and play with the best musicians in Boston.
Soon afterward, Thomas joined the Hammond organ-driven funk group, Akashic Record. Brian produced and wrote most of the material for Akashic Record's debut CD "New Days Ahead" and their second release “Theosophy.” Akashic Records currently tours throughout New England and New York.
He held a teacher assistant’s position in the jazz department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2008, under the direction of Jeff Holmes. At U MASS, Thomas also studied jazz composition with Jeff Holmes and trombone with Norman Bolter (retired Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist) while earning a masters degree in jazz composition.
In addition to performing, Thomas also teaches band, jazz ensemble, music history, and music theory at Canton High School. Learn more about him at
Besides performing a couple of solo numbers at Winter Jazz, Thomas will perform with both the Jazz Ensemble, directed by NHS instrumental music teacher and district music supervisor Dave Schwind, and with Vocal Jazz, directed by NHS vocal music teacher Jean Bendix.
He will also work with district music students Jan. 9 and 10, including performing at a 45-minute morning assembly at Kelley School Jan. 10.
Tickets for the concert are $6 and are only available at the door. Senior citizens who have a Golden Pass can attend for free.
Anyone who has questions should call Schwind at 332-3200 ext. 2251.