MMW: Joe Thomas

Artist: Joe Thomas

Description: He was one of the stars of the great swing–era band of Jimmy Lunceford.

“Joe Thomas (June 19, 1909, Uniontown, Pennsylvania – August 3, 1986, Kansas City, Missouri) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.

As a boy Thomas first learned to play hymns on his sax, it was the only music his parents approved of. His first band job was with the Earl Hood Orchestra. After 8 months Horace Henderson offered him a job.

Thomas played alto sax under Horace Henderson, but played tenor from the time he joined Stuff Smith’s band onward. He played with Jimmie Lunceford’s band from 1933 until Lunceford’s death in 1947, where he soloed often and occasionally sang. After Lunceford died, Thomas and Ed Wilcox co-led his ghost band for a year. He played R&B in the early 1950s, but left the music industry to work in the family undertaking business in the middle of the 1950s. In the 1960s he started playing again occasionally, and recorded again under his own name in the late 1970s and early 1980s.” (from Wikipedia)

Hear it: “Classics” with Gordon Spencer, Sundays at 3 p.m.

“Best of Jazz-The Swing Era-Jimmie Lunceford”- Best of Jazz CD 4002
“Swingin’ Uptown” w/Willie Smith, as- Eddie Tompkins, tp
“Rhythm is Our Business” w/Smith, voc-, Tommy Stevenson, tp-Moses Allen, b-Jimmy Crawford,
“Jimmy (sic) Lunceford and His Orchestra” Decca LP DL 8050: “Hi Spook”
“lunceford special” (sic) Columbia LP CL 634
“What’s Your Story Morning Glory?” (by Mary Lou Williams)
“White Heat” -w/Smith, cl-Paul Webster, tp-Eddie Durham, tb
Same Best of Jazz CD
“Annie Laurie” w/Trummy Young,tb-Webster, tp
“The Lonesome Road” w/Trummy, voc.-Smith, as
“Joe Thomas/Jay McShann-Blowin’ In from K.C” Uptown LP 27.12
“Dog Food” (by Thomas) w/McShann, p-Haywood Henry, bs-Johnny Grimes, tp-
George Duvivier, b

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