In the Spirit of Swing. The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center
is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for Jazz through performance, education and advocacy.
We believe Jazz is a metaphor for Democracy. Because jazz is improvisational, it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression. Because jazz is swinging, it dedicates
that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with
others. Because jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism.
Reginald Thomas can be seen fronting his own groups (Mardra/Reggie Thomas Ensemble; OGD) on both piano and Hammond organ, and as a sideman with great artists including Hamiet Blueitt, Ann Hampton Callaway, and the Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker Ensemble. Most recently he was the accompanist for the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Reggie continues to appear as a guest artist at collegiate jazz festivals around the country including Lawrence University, the University of South Florida, and Texas Tech University. He has also performed internationally in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Milan, Italy; Warsaw and Poznan, Poland; Senegal, West Africa; and London, England. Recordings include work with Clay Jenkins, Kim Richmond, and Clark Terry/Mike Vax, as well as his own recordings Fade to Blue with wife Mardra (MaxJazz), Standard Time (Victoria) and 4 (Jazz Compass). He has been awarded the Excellence in the Arts award from the Greater St. Louis Arts and Education Council and was named in the Riverfront Times 2005 "Best of St. Louis" issue as Best Jazz Artist. After almost 20 years as professor of music at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Professor Thomas joined the faculty of Michigan State University in the fall of 2011. He is a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center, working with the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program and Band Director Academy, and has served on several summer jazz faculties across the country and abroad, including the International Association for Jazz Educators Teacher Training Institute; the Birch Creek Music Center; the Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Camp; Summer Jazz Academy in Chodziez, Poland, and the Barbican Center in London. He remains an active clinician/adjudicator at colleges throughout the country and at conventions of the International Association for Jazz Educators (IAJE) and its successor, the Jazz Education Network (JEN). Thomas has directed All State Jazz Bands, Combos and Jazz Choirs in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, South Dakota and Tennessee and directed the first ever Missouri All-College Jazz Band.