Daniel Thomas

Daniel Thomas's Biography

Dan Thomas is a dedicated performer and educator who emigrated to the United States from his native Canada in 1993. He has received countless performance awards, and has performed and presented with some of the most important jazz performers and pedagogues in nearly every state in the continental United States, Canada, and abroad.

Thomas holds the position of Associate Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the Division of Jazz Studies, the Coordinator of Assessment, and the Coordinator of the UMKC Jazz Camp and the UMKC Jazz Festival, alongside his friend and colleague, Bobby Watson. Thomas's regular teaching responsibilities include applied jazz studies, jazz improvisation, jazz history, jazz pedagogy, jazz combos, graduate business, and the 11 O'Clock Big Band, which received an invitation to perform at the JEN Conference and an outstanding performance acknowledgment in 2012.

Thomas has served as a woodwind and jazz studies specialist, instrumental music instructor, and vocal music instructor in the public school systems in Washington, Missouri, and Kansas. He has served on the faculty at Kansas City's Penn Valley Community College and Rockhurst University. Thomas is a three-time recipient of the "Who's Who Among America's Educator's" award. With a deep love for educating tomorrow's jazz future, he regularly presents master classes and workshops, and works as a featured performing guest artist in a wide variety of settings. 

The Vice President of education and curriculum development for the Monk Institute is quoted as saying that Thomas is "…eminent, experienced, and effective..." Michael Shults, former student and Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said, "Thomas, in addition to being a killer player, is a dedicated pedagogue who breaks down and de-mystifies the nuts and bolts of improvisation in a way that no other teacher I have encountered, in my seven years of collegiate study, can."

Thomas's students can be seen around the world performing and teaching at the highest level. His students have appeared multiple times at the Kennedy Center as part of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead Program, the Port Townsend Jazz Workshops, Monterey Jazz Festival, and JEN Conference, and have won Grand Prize in the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition. His students continue to contribute to the jazz fabric throughout the world.

A regular in the Kansas City jazz scene, Thomas also performs throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas in a variety of settings covering the spectrum of the jazz idiom. He is a frequent clinician and guest artist at high school and university jazz festivals. Thomas's quintet and quartet albums have received critical acclaim, and have been acknowledged on the national airplay charts.

Thomas is a Yamaha Performing Artist, and holds artist/educator endorsements with Vandoren, Locoparasaxo, WeWood, and RooPads.

Daniel Thomas's Gear
Daniel Thomas