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Short Bio

Since 1973 John has lived in Los Angeles, touring and/or recording as lead trumpet for Count Basie, Chick Corea, Woody Herman, Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Joe Williams and many others. His playing is featured on hundreds of albums, television series and motion pictures such as the movie Ray. 


Thomas is a Full Professor at the University of Southern California and is a Senior Specialist for the Fulbright Scholarship Board, traveling to Peru, Thailand, Croatia, Italy, Austria and South Africa presenting trumpet workshops and music seminars. His newly released instructional trumpet DVD, Trumpet Secrets Revealed, is the best selling DVD on the subject and is distributed by Hal Leonard, Inc.

Selected Collaborative Performances

Louie Bellson

Bob Mintzer

Bob Sheppard

Peter Erskine

Steve Davis

Herbie Hancock

Maria Schneider

Duke Ellington Orchestra

Count Basie

Woody Herman

Clark Terry

Maynard Ferguson

Bill Holman

Bob Florence

Joe Farrell

Curtis Fuller

Eddie Gomez

Steve Gadd

Frank Sinatra

Lionel Hampton

Benny Green

Lewis Nash

Lou Rawls

Ray Charles

Ray Brown

Ella Fitzgerald

Milt Jackson

John Faddis

James Moody

Blue Mitchell

Cat Anderson

Kenny Burrell

Helen Merrill

Harry „Sweets“ Edison

Ken Peplowski

Marshall Royal

Burt Bacharach

Doc‘ Severinson

Herbie Hancock

Stan Getz

Chick Corea

Toshiko Akioshi

Scott Hamilton

Mel Tormè

Nancy Wilson

James Brown

Tony Bennett

Stevie Wonder

Don Ellis

Dionne Warwick

Elvis Costello

Cheryl Crow

Luther Vandross

David Sanborn

The Supremes

Selected recordings

My Spanish Heart-- Chick Corea (Grammy)

Music Magic-- Chick Corea (Grammy)

King of the Blues--BB King (Grammy)

Mad Hatter-- Chick Corea (Grammy Nomination

 A Tribute to Ethel Waters—Duke Ellington Orchestra, (Grammy Nominee)

The Raven Speaks --Woody Herman Orchestra

The Best of Count Basie--Count Basie Orchestra

The Best of the Count Basie Big Band—Count Basie Orchestra

I Told You So--Count Basie Orchestra

Dynamite!--Louie Bellson Orchestra

Live At Ronnie Scott’s in London—Louie Bellson Orchestra

The Best of Return to Forever-- Chick Corea

Return to Forever Live-- Chick Corea

RTF The Complete Concert-- Chick Corea

Larger Than Life--Freddie King

Switch—Claire Fischer

True To Life—Ray Charles



Weekly Television Shows


According to Jim


Perfect Strangers

Hawaii Five-O


B.J. and the Bear

Remington Steele

Murder She Wrote

Love Boat

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Battlestar Galactica

Knotts Landing


Lavern and Shirley



Motion Picture

  • “Ray”, The story of Ray Charles, featured trumpet artist

  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

  • Swing Shift

  • Howard the Duck

  • The Burbs

  • Benji

  • Oh Heavenly Dog

  • The Spirit

  • Pay Dirt

  • Golden Child

  • A Table for Five

  • Winnie the Pooh

  • Killing At Hells Gate

  • Bustin’ Loose

  • There Goes the Neighborhood

  • The Double McGuffin

  • Smorgasbord

  • Within A Lifetime

  • Sweet Scent of Coopersmith

  • Midnight Madness

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