Mardra Reggie Thomas Experience

Mardra and Reggie Thomas photo provided by performers.

Mardra & Reggie Thomas Experience featuring drummer Montez Coleman
Saturday, Aug 3, 2013 – 8:30 to 10:00pm Main Stage South

Experience the mesmerizing music of jazz vocalist Mardra Thomas and pianist/organist Reggie Thomas, joined with other world class musicians, drummer Montez Coleman from their St. Louis hometown, bassist Rodney Whitaker and guitarist Perry Hughes.

Mardra Thomas’ music career was sparked when she performed for the opening of Dizzy Gillespie’s 70th Birthday Concert, after which she soon found herself performing with the East St. Louis Lincoln Big Band, and went on to share the stage and recording studio with other great musicians. She is known for her realistic portrayal of Billie Holiday in concert and theater, touted by critics for the finesse of her sculptured phrasing à la Holiday.

The couple moved to the Lansing area in 2011, when Reggie was hired as a Professor of Jazz Piano at Michigan State University, following 20 years as an educator and musician in Illinois. He has fronted his own musical groups and performed with a number of others, including the Count Basie Orchestra. He is also a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Montez Coleman

Montez Coleman photo from facebook profile.

Montez Coleman was playing drums from age 5, and by high school he was in the famed East St. Louis Lincoln High School jazz band, touring Europe and performing at prestigious jazz festivals. During college he led his own trio and went on to tour, playing a lot of R&B and reggae, before reconnecting with the jazz scene in East St. Louis.

After success playing with Willie Akins’ and other St. Louis greats, he moved to New York in 2000, with connections built through backing touring musicians at Jazz at the Bistro. Coleman’s big break came when he had the chance to record with saxophonist Bobby Watson in 2002 on “Live and Learn.”

He enjoyed more recording and touring opportunities, leading to being featured on Russell Malone’s 2010 MAXJAZZ release, Triple Play. Finally he moved on to become drummer with famed trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s band. In the midst of this success, he moved back to East St. Louis, where he balances time with his family, playing with local greats like Akins, and doing tours and performances across the country and around the world.

(source: bio and images from performer)

Mardra Thomas Website     ::     Mardra Thomas on Facebook

Montez Coleman on Facebook