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News Release

Date: October 4, 2006
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970; Steve Simon, 301-251-7952

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Montgomery College to Feature Jazz by Michael Thomas Quintet
Two Concerts at Rockville, Germantown Campuses on Oct. 17, 20

PHOTO EDITORS: For a high-resolution image to accompany this release, click on the following link: MichaelThomas.jpg.

Montgomery College will feature jazz concerts by the Michael Thomas Quintet on Tuesday, October 17 and Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. The October 17 concert will take place at the College’s Rockville Campus, Music Recital Hall, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md. The October 20 concert will take place at the College’s Germantown Campus, Globe Hall, located in the High Technology and Science Center, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown, Md. The concerts are free and open to the public.

The Michael Thomas Quintet is a powerful and energetic group that is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of jazz. The quintet consists of Michael Thomas, trumpet and flugelhorn; Zach Graddy, tenor saxophone; Darius Scott, piano; Kent Miller, contrabass; and Frank Williams, drums. They have the ability to capture an audience and go to where “hard-bop and blues” swing. They have been together for seven years, performing in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC area. They have recorded three albums: “It Is What It Is,” “The Awakening,” and “The Messenger.” The albums were produced by JazHead Entertainment, Michael Thomas’ record label.

Thomas began performing at age 13, but music was in his life from the beginning with a father who loved Ray Charles and a mother who listened to Jimmy Smith and Clifford Brown jazz albums. In high school, Thomas earned county and statewide recognition for his French horn playing. At Grambling State University, he performed in the jazz ensemble and marching band, eventually becoming drum major.

After college, Thomas played in Philadelphia and New York, performing with Lillie Howard and Ed Smith. He also played with the Errol Parker Tentet. In 1993, he moved to the Washington, DC area. In 1996, Thomas won the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Contest at the East Coast Jazz Festival.

Since then, he’s played with Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Shirley Scott, Slide Hampton, Joe Williams, and others. For three years, he has hosted jam sessions at HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues and does jazz education seminars with Nasar Abadey. Besides performing with the Michael Thomas Quintet, Thomas plays with Tootsie Gripper’s Jazz Vespers Ensemble.

For more information about the concerts, contact the Montgomery College-Rockville Music Department at 301-279-5209.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves more than 55,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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