The Michael Thomas Quintet is a powerful and energetic group that is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of jazz. The quintet has the unique capability to capture an audience and take them on an excursion to where "Hard-bop and Blues" swing joyfully, prayerfully, and soulfully. The group consists of members that know jazz, respect jazz, and love jazz. There is nothing "laid back" about this group.
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Michael A. Thomas began his musical life as a thirteen-year-old trumpeter. After a successful college career at Grambling State, Michael discovered jazz in a small club in Upstate New York. Michael then met New York native Bill Saxton (Tenor MONSTER ), who introduced him to the New York scene. He frequented the city's jazz scenes and did whatever possible to learn more about the music. He then ventured to lead his own group in Upstate New York, plus performed regularly with Ms. Lillie Howard and Ed Smith. Michael left Upstate New York, in 1993, in order to move to the DC/Maryland area. Since the move, Michael has become an integral part of the DC jazz scene. In 1996, Michael was a scholarship recipient in the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Contest at the East Coast Jazz Festival. To date, he has played with a number of notable musicians such as Betty Carter, Jimmy Heath, Joe Williams, and others. He hosted jam sessions at HR-57 (Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues) for three years and does jazz education seminars with Nasar Abadey. Michael is now performing with his Quintet regularly both in and out of the DC area. Michael is a regular member of Tootsie Gripper's Jazz Vespers Ensemble (this group also includes Keter Betts and Buck Hill).
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Zach Graddy began playing the Saxophone in 1976, learning the fundamentals in grade school and continuing through high school. His introduction to jazz began at Clark Atlanta University where he studied and performed with the world renowned Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra. During that time he played with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Health, Max Roach, Art Farmer and Kenny Burrell.
Continuing his studies on his own, Zach performed with his own band in the Atlanta area with local musicians, namely pianist Johnny O'Neal and Bassist Taurus Mateen. Currently, Zach is residing in the Washington, DC area. He has enhanced his musical career playing with such artists as the O'Jays and playing the role of Lester Young in a play, Ms. Holiday's Blues, at the famous Gem Theater in Kansas City, MO. Zach is currently working with HR-57 Productions, a division of HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues.
Darius Scott was born in Ithaca, New York, grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and has been living in Baltimore since 1983. He made his ensemble debut performance in 1990. In 1993 he founded the Resolution Jazz Group , which was born at Funk's Democratic Coffee Spot in Baltimore's Fell's Point. With his group and others, Darius has performed at various local and out of town venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lisner Auditorium, Blues Alley and One Step Down in D.C., S.O.B.'s in New York City and The Balcony in Pittsburgh. In late 1998 Darius played with Brenda Russell in Barry Levinson's film "Liberty Heights" which is now in major theaters. Now you can say he's been in pictures! He currently performs regularly with the Todd Butler Group, D.C.'s Popular Latin Jazz Group La Jazz lead by Timbalero Paul Hawkins. and can also be seen with The Al Maniscalco quartet and The Michael Thomas Quintet.
Born October 17, 1956 in St. Louis Missouri, Kent Miller's parents appreciation for listening to all kinds of music around the house was his first introduction to music. He Attended Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Mo., graduating in 1979. He then returned to St. Louis and enrolled in the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. Kent became a private student of Wendell Marshall (former Duke Ellington bassist), later to become very good friends. Enrollment into the legendary George Hudson Big Band soon followed. In 1984 Kent moved to New York and was recruited by legendary Vanguard recording artist trumpeter Dave Burns. Kent continued his bass studies with bassist Rufus Ried and Ray Drummond. Kent joined the Brooklyn based Ray Abrams big band that led to many other music opportunities with such artist as: Carl Allen, Chico Hamilton, Bill Saxton, and many others. In 1995 Kent relocated to the Washington DC area, where he resides today. Playing with many great local and national artist, Kent is a current member of the Michael Thomas Quintet and Steve Carrington Quartet.
Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, Frank Tecumseh Williams, IV was introduced to the world of music at an early age by his father who is a music educator. At the age of 5, he was given his first drum set and had been in love since. After earning first place drum soloist recognition in competitions like the Count Basie Orchestra/Hampton University Jazz Competition, Frank decided to toss his drums into the professional ring. Frank has played and toured with Scotty Barnhardt of the Count Basie Orchestra, Marcus Printup and the renowned Douglass Carn. In addition, Williams has performed with such legends as John Lamb, Wynton Marsalis, Nat Adderly and Marcus Roberts. Mr. Williams lectures on Music and Jazz History. Individual and group lessons are given on all percussion instrument.