Extremely Serious Business - Headwall
Mr. Thomas's band of the 1980s, Serious Business (heard on ESP5006), focused on his fusion and 'free funk' compositions played with an electric sound. Extremely Serious Business marked a turning point, a return to a more acoustic setting while remaining true to the pioneering spirit of "improvisation along the edges." Extremely Serious Business showcases his unique compositional skills and style while carrying on the long lineage of cutting-edge soloing "outside the changes."
Headwall combines freedom in composition and conceptualization with a kickass groove to set a new standard in jazz-guitar. This previously unreleased album features mostly a traditional acoustic jazz-guitar sound, but also includes two tracks with guitar synthesizer out front. All tracks were recorded with 'live' musicians with the exception "Song for My Father," done in duo with drummer Tom Garner, with overdubbing. Mr. Thomas says, "Equally noteworthy is the incredible mix present throughout. Unlike previous recordings where the guitar sometimes appears either too far back or the sound too tinny and less full, this album exceeds previous mix attempts in achieving both balance and clarity."
Drummer Thomas Garner is originally from North Carolina. Mr. Thomas met Mr. Garner while he lived in the Boston area and was a regular in different bands Thomas put together. Mr. Thomas calls him a "really mellow dude who loves world rhythms." Pianist/keyboardist Greg Burk is a former instructor at New England Conservatory and an accomplished soloist and accompanist with Bob Moses and Dave Liebman. Mr. Burke now lives in Italy and plays solo concerts regularly. Bassist Paul Beaudry is a San Diego native who was very active on the Boston scene before his New York
move, where he is now a regular. Mr. Thomas says, "Paul brings that big warm sound and incredible chops to every gig." Guitarist Avi Rothbart is a former student of Mr. Thomas's who is now well established on the New York scene.
John D. Thomas, guitar, guitar synthesizer, keyboards, electric bass
Greg Burke, piano, synthesizer
Paul Beaudry, contrabass
Tom Garner, drums
Avi Rothbard, guitar (#7 only)
2. Song For Max
4. 3000 Worlds
5. Song For My Father
"[John Thomas has] a unique solo style. John's latest offering gives a superb example of why, in my opinion, he is one of the all-time great jazz guitarists." – saxophonist Charles Tolliver, December 2014