David Bennett Thomas
Composer, Pianist, Educator: Classical, Jazz, Choral, Chamber, etc…
The chamber works of David Bennett Thomas may be categorized as neo-Romantic, neo-tonal, or even as a kind of sophisticated ‘fusion classical’ but these terms by themselves are inadequate to describe the complex mixtures of elements in his music. His strongest pieces reveal both modernist influences and contemporary applications, though blended to sound original and whole, not like self-conscious parodies or pastiches. Thomas is shrewd enough not to wear his influences on his sleeve, and these presumed sources are reworked with jazz harmonies and influences in an idiosyncratic but distinctive post-modern approach.
Click the links below to explore David’s YouTube playlists.
Joel Frahm discusses DBT’s music on NPR
Click above to listen to saxophonist Joel Frahm discuss music from the album Headspace on NPR.
Click above to hear Marjorie Hermann interview Thomas on “Sounds Choral,” WWFM, The Classical Network.
Click above to hear Gene Shay interview Thomas on the Opus 101 program of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum.
Thomas doesn’t limit himself jazz. He also composes orchestral, choral and chamber works, and that aspect of his work seeps inevitably into his jazz offerings—the polish and the exactitude. “First Frost” has a orchestral feel—with, again French horn and cello included in the mix. The highlight, “Abraham and Isaac,” includes French horn and trombone, producing a sound that can be compared to that of composer/arranger Gil Evans, or perhaps Herbie Hancock’s overlooked Speak Like A Child set. The disc’s title tune rides a swirl of spiritual mystery, with Frahm’s tenor and Swana’s EVI circling each other in the updraft of the beautifully-crafted arrangement, on a set that represents a forward leap for David Bennett Thomas.
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Thomas writes in harmonically and rhythmically complex styles, requiring a high level of virtuoisty. He tailors each work to the idiom of the medium for which it is written. His music is intense, yet ingratiating. An overview of his works reveals stylistic and artistic integrity. The artists, all highly successful in their respective fields, perform with passion, commitment, and great skill. Thomas has a distinct, effective musical voice that deserves to be heard.
American Organist Magazine
His music is concise and comprehensible, though he doesn‘t talk down to the listener or subscribe to any particular isms. This is a composer with an individual voice.
David Moore, American Record Guide
David Bennett Thomas is a bit of a Renaissance guy when it comes to music. A gifted composer of classical and choral, chamber and orchestral music, he also veers on occasion into the jazz world. He brings to jazz a cerebral approach that is also engaging on a purely kick-back-and-listen level. It is with repeated listenings that the music reveals its depth…the sound made by the six musicians playing Thomas’ forward-looking compositions with precision and verve-and some funkiness-sound like an offshoot of pianist Chick Corea’s Elektrik band of the late 1980’s, soaring off to the stars.
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz