Interview and photo by Steve Korn
Someone once told me…hold your horn up when you play. Hmmmm I’m not sure if it matters unless you’re in a big band.
When I was 14 I decided I wanted to be a musician.
The trumpet is beautiful but unforgiving…if I pick it up to play it demands my full attention…if I don’t want to commit then it would be best to leave it alone.
If I could do it all over again, I would have to go back in time.
Practice makes me feel positive about life.
When I look at where I’m at right now, I’m not sure where I’m at or if I’m headed anywhere…
The piece of music that taught me a lot when I was young was Lover Man…Thorlackson used to play it for me on piano and we had fun playing…it’s an easy tune and fun to play.
Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m driving or falling asleep.
My parents were the best for ME!
Fear is OK also… sometimes…nobody goes around being afraid ALL the time.
Motivation is a result of a strong cup of coffee in the morning.
As I get older, I’ve realized that much of my life is about taking the path of least resistance….isn’t that Dharma?
The thing about jazz I like other than the music itself is the history as told in stories…there is everything for me…Freddie, Rams, Thorlackson…all great story tellers.
In the big scheme of things, what really matters is what I think.
I cried when I heard Trane play a high F on a ballad using his palm key.
Music has taught me that it is best to avoid the expected …unless you need to be liked or are looking for radio play.
People ask me how do you play trumpet and saxophone…it’s a little weird…I’m not sure after all this time if it’s a real question.
Music is further evidence that we live in an intelligent universe…
Right now, I’m hopeful.
Discipline is another word that if I think about it too long it has no clear meaning.
I’m not sure about a lot of things…a result of the shocking revelation that sometimes I’m wrong.
Change is inevitable.
I chose the trumpet because my dad played one and it was around being practiced before I ever picked it up.
I’ve never understood the joys of Calypso music!
When I’m stuck I go into a problem-solving mode usually after letting it lay for a while.
Improvisation is following your instincts.
Less is more because there is always the potential for more.
The thing that makes me nervous on stage is situational lack of confidence.
When I’m playing well, it feels like I have figured out that it doesn’t matter what I play.
Your audience is a witness.
Jay Thomas, a native of Seattle, is a versatile multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto, tenor, soprano and flutes). His music is eclectic, drawing on all musical situations in his life. His music could be described as lyrical without losing touch with the blues.
For more information about the Leading Questions Project, click here.