Mr. Steve Thomas received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Following this degree, he received a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies, also from DePaul. During his tenure at DePaul, Mr. Thomas was fortunate enough to play with renowned jazz musicians as well as build musical connections around the city of Chicago. A trumpet player, Mr. Thomas has played at virtually every jazz venue in Chicago and has performed with artists such as Slide Hampton, Phil Woods, Louis Bellson, Nicholas Payton, Joe Lovano, Jon Faddis, Tom Harrell, Jim McNeely, and Bob Brookmeyer. In 2001, Mr. Thomas was one of three finalists in the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition, and in 2002 was awarded an Outstanding Soloist award from “Downbeat” Magazine. In 2002, Mr. Thomas was also recognized by Downbeat Magazine as an outstanding jazz soloist. He has recorded for Chicago based Southport Records and BluJazz Records both with other groups and under his own name. !
In addition to his performing schedule, Mr. Thomas has been an active teacher and clinician throughout the Chicagoland and other areas. From 1999-2007, he was a jazz director at Wheeling High School in Illinois. In addition, Mr. Thomas has held the band director position at Jack London Middle School and is currently the band director at Grayslake Middle School, both in Illinois. Mr. Thomas has been the jazz ensemble director at Triton College in Illinois, and an ECHO teaching artist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Under his direction, Mr. Thomas’ groups have performed at many festivals and competitions and have earned praise and compliments from judges, educators, and other peers. In the summer of 2002, Steve was asked by jazz education giant Jamey Aebersold to join the faculty of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop in Kentucky.