MICHAEL J THOMAS is an ever-evolving and flourishing artist. His sultry tunes are beginning to pop in many sought-after venues. The accomplished saxophonist is leaving his mark on local fans, national fans, and the Billboard charts as well. His climbing vocal debut "I Think about Amy" is maneuvering its way to coveted spots on the Smooth Jazz Billboard chart currently claiming the #16 spot. Thomas wrote the song and released it on Woodward Avenue Records mid-2011. His silky, yet pop-like vocals are being compared to the legendary sounds of the late Michael Jackson and 80's pop icon George Michael.
His fresh sound is storming artistic venues from iTunes Jazz sales charts to Hollywood. His original song, "Amante Del Vino" from his national debuting album, "City Beat," is weaved into the plot of the movie "Contagion" starring Hollywood A-listers Matt Damon, Gweneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet. In September 2011, he hit tinsel town again to team up with Paul Brown, the two-time Grammy-winning music producer. Brown has worked with musical giants like Luther Vandross, George Benson, and Al Jarreau. The dynamic pair produced a song Michael co-wrote with Destin musician Shannon Wallace entitled "Without You" featuring vocalist Wendy Moten who has recorded duos with jazz heavyweights such as Michael McDonald and Peabo Bryson.
Since the release in March 2010 of this spirited and eclectic CD, "City Beat," Destin, Florida has an exciting and similarly bright new musical calling card. With widespread critical acclaim and high impact airplay and sales stats, the versatile saxophonist's debut CD was one of the genre's hottest independent releases of 2010. On its day of release, the widespread anticipation for City Beat led to its peak position of #4 on the Amazon smooth jazz chart. The infectious, upbeat title track hit #1 on Canadian based Smooth Jazz Now's singles chart ( ; debuted at #45 on the smooth airplay list; debuted at #24 on Billboard's smooth jazz Indicator Chart; and received airplay on terrestrial and internet stations around the world. Millions watching The Weather Channel also are getting hip to Thomas' melodic mix of upbeat grooves and sensual ballads. A total of five songs from "City Beat" received regular spins there, including "City Beat," "Amante Del Vino," "Back Home", "30-A Degrees" and "Wedding Song (Forever Always)." These breakthrough achievements for the small town Kentucky native are all the more incredible when you realize that he's achieved all of this simply based on his own hard work and talent.
Prior to his national breakthrough as a recording artist, Thomas had built a strong regional following performing at local venues, private shows, festivals, and concerts. He has performed several times at Seabreeze, on bills featuring some of the biggest stars in smooth jazz: Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Kirk Whalum, Peter White, Rick Braun, Joyce Cooling, Steve Cole, Euge Groove, Mindi Abair and Nick Colionne. In 2006, the saxman was named Best of the Emerald Coast in the "Best Musician/Vocalist/Band" category.
A few snippets from reviews of City Beat illuminate its widespread appeal. Smooth Jazz Therapy calls it "a tremendously accomplished piece of work and, given that Thomas writes or co-writes all but one of ten choice tracks, proves also to be a wonderful showcase for his art…a tremendously commercial collection…" Soul Tracks adds: "His globe-trotting and love of the soul greats are what fed into the delectably-diversified mix found on "City Beat," rich with mesmerizing melodies, pulsating beats and even a pinch of hip-hop." The Smooth Jazz Ride says: "Thomas delivers on City Beat the kind of self-confidence and stand-up solid material that has ushered in so many of our smooth jazz greats today…Thomas obviously knows home when he sees it, as he's honed right in on smooth jazz like an old neighbor…the hooks throughout are full, catchy, and attractive." And Smooth Jazz Daily hopes they will "certainly hear more of this blessed artist."
His fully alive, 3-dimensional stage presence leaves as much of an impression on fans as his tunes, "…his variety of style and songs along with his audience interaction should assure a bright future for this young entertainer," writes Dee Dee Ritche of the Pensacola News Journal. Producer Paul Brown readily agrees with his predictions concerning Thomas, "Michael J. Thomas is an excellent and dedicated musician. He is a very fine and intuitive player and has one of the best soprano sax sounds I've ever recorded. I think he's a rising star with a great career in front of him."