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About Joe Thomas

An excellent swing trumpeter who never gained much recognition except from musicians, Joe Thomas was considered a very valuable player in the 1930's and 40's. He debuted professionally with Cecil Scott in 1928 and played throughout the Midwest with lesser-known groups led by Darrell Harris, Eli Rice, Shuffle Abernathy and Harold Flood among others. After moving to New York, Thomas was with Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra in 1934 before it broke up and with the reformed group during 1936-37. He worked with Fats Waller, Willie Bryant, Benny Carter's Orchestra (1939-40), James P. Johnson, Joe Sullivan and Teddy Wilson's Sextet (1942-43). Thomas led his own bands on and off and also played with Barney Bigard (1944-45), Cozy Cole (1948) and Bud Freeman (1949). In later years he was with the Fletcher Henderson Reunion Band in 1957 and worked with Claude Hopkins (1966) in addition to freelancing into the early 1970's. Joe Thomas led five four-song recording sessions in his career, one apiece for Onyx (those titles went unissued until the 1970's), HRS, Keynote (1946), Seeco in 1953 and Atlantic in 1958 (an album shared with Vic Dickenson). ~ Scott Yanow

    Uniontown, PA
  • BORN
    16 Jun 1933

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