Europe Jazz Network
Gary Thomas has already left prominent marks in contemporary jazz. Among the leading youngsters of the Black East coast scene, Gary's output has been the most versatile and gripping. His original, often stubborn tenor playing has long since assumed an unmistakable voice characterized by harsh and biting contours. "He develops a ferocious intensity and momentum", Jazz Journal wrote, "his line conveying a sense of mounting and explosive tension".|
Born and still living in Baltimore, Gary is one of the rare individuals among today's saxophone players. A musician versatile and outstanding like no other artist of his age, Gary has played with Steve Coleman, Wallace Rooney, Cassandra Wilson, Miles Davis and is a member of Jack DeJohentte's Special Edition.
Gary Thomas admired post-bop musicians like Woody Shaw, Eddie Harris and Billy Harper. He is often compared to giants like John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins, but their influence seems to have crept in via said Billy Harper, a tenor saxophonist of mighty tone popular in the 70's who combined hymnic intensity and thythmic drive. Gary Thomas compounds this heritage with new elements and carries it creativity into the future, persisently shying away from the obvious, simple and modish.
His first album on JMT By any means necessary, created a style for which Downbeat coined the somewhat cumbersome name "post-bop-techno-hiphop-out- jazz". After his surprise-foray into standard territory, While the gate is open, Gary Thomas again turned to his own futuristic fusion of abstracted bop-lines, cool computer-intelligence, science-fiction soundtracks and furious rap intensity on The Kold Kage. Gary Thomas' interest in electronics was stimulated by Miles Davis, who hired him to join his band in 1987. On Till we have faces (with Pat Metheny) the world of the jazz standards is being transformed into Gary's own language. And on Gary's latest release Exile's Gate the Hammond B3 organ is the featured instrument. Gary Thomas has successfully toured with the Exile's Gate band during the summer of 1994 playing festivals like Montreux, the Umbria Jazz Festival, Willisau, etc.
In October 1995 JMT will release on CD the hip hop project Gary has been working on for the last 18 months. Name of the project is OVERKILL and the title of the CD will be Murder in the worst degree. Gary, who is responsible for all compositions has invited well known rappers such as Mustafa, Ransom, NoName, Porkchop, to perform on this recording. Also contributing to this CD are the Italian rap artist Jovanotti, and former singer of Incognito Maysa Leak.
Overkill has already successfully toured this summer performing at festivals such as the Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, Jazz an der Donau, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Aarhus Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival. About the Montreux Jazz Festival, some critics wrote "Overkill was by far the most exciting band of this year's festivals".
Recorded and/or collaborative concerts with:
Biography courtesy of EMMECI.