Jazz saxophonist Dan Thomas opens for Marilyn Maye this weekend.
Thomas is the associate director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He's also the bandleader of Voyage, whose other members are pianist Wayne Hawkins, bassist Forest Stewart and drummer Mike Warren (no relation to the KCUR contributor of the same name).
3 reasons we're listening to Dan Thomas this week:
1. Thomas, a native Canadian, is Bobby Watson’s right-hand man at UMKC’s jazz program. Watson’s celebrity tends to overshadow Thomas’ significant contributions.
2. Thomas and Voyager rarely perform. Saturday’s appearance at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival is the group’s highest-profile appearance in the area.
3. In the liner notes to the band's 2012 album Voyage, describing the song "The New Moon," Thomas notes that the lunar phase is a time when "the moon is actually there but one can’t see it because the sun is shining on the other side." He says that's also "a metaphorical connection that I make to the innate qualities in myself and the world around me.”
Dan Thomas and Voyage perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival. Marilyn Maye’s headlining performance begins at 8:30 p.m.; Sons of Brasil, Chris Hazelton's Boogaloo 7, the KCKCC Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Shawnee Mission East Blue Knights round out the bill.
Bill Brownlee’s writing appears weekly in The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. He blogs about Kansas City’s jazz scene at Plastic Sax.