Biography

Someone ought to erect a monument to Pete Thomas for services to rock music

– MUSIC Magazine Dec 1983

 

Quite a remarkable statement on its own, but the fact that the person honoured in this way is not a guitar hero but a college trained sax player and composer is even more remarkable. Pete has recently been paid a further compliment by Virgin Vision when they asked him to make a saxophone instruction video for worldwide release.

But then Pete Thomas doesn’t mess around. One of his first professional gigs was with Fats Domino. Pete is probably one of the first British musicians to feature with this 11 piece New Orleans band both as a soloist and as a member of the legendary horn section.

It was this connection that led to a musical partnership with Joe Jackson as co-arranger and saxophonist on records and world tours. This partnership was resumed on Joe Jackson’s film score and soundtrack album for Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Tucker for which Pete features as a soloist.

Pete Thomas in Leeds

Photographer: Sara Teresa

More recently he was commissioned by Island/Polygram to produce the live recording and mixing of PJ Harvey’s Forum concert for MTV and video documentary Reeling as well as co-producing with her the tribute to Kurt Weill: Ballad Of The Soldier’s Wife for Sony Classical.

Not satisfied with simply helping others to create great music he has recently been involved in composition and production himself with some highly acclaimed work which has led him into the demanding world of TV films, commercials and record production. His successes in this area include composing music for Michael Caine’s feature film Blue Ice (commissioned source music), American Kick Boxer II (full score), The Late ShowMovies From Hell– BBC2, Signals – Channel 4, Best – The Movie and a series of stylish, unique and highly musical TV ads for Tennent’s, Dry Blackthorn, Sainsbury’s, Orangina, Holsten Pils, Playstation, Pantene and many more.

Pete Thomas in London

Photo: Julia Maloof

His music for the Tennent’s ad was used as the soundtrack to the film Night in the Naked City (directed by Amanda Roberts)

When he’s not touring or working as a composer he’s much in demand as a multi-horn session player and arranger. He works with producers such as Adamski, Flood, Rod Argent, Pete Wingfield, Gus Dudgeon, Robin Millar, Stuart Colman, and Marshall Jefferson on projects for artists including PJ Harvey, R.E.M., Cliff Richard, Elton John, Richard Thompson, Robert Cray, Keziah Jones and Kim Wilde.

As well as his Rock and Pop music credits Pete is well respected as a jazz musician. One time member of award winning fusion band Swift he has also featured with the Thad Jones Orchestra, Loose Tubes, Slim Gaillard, Jimmy Witherspoon, Jon Hendricks and Laverne Baker.

Pete Thomas is a consummate musician and an uninhibited performer, totally at ease in any musical idiom. He deals equally effortlessly with conducting an orchestra or programming for a modern pop session. He’s totally at one with the synthesizers, samplers, computers and midi controllers demanded by and responsible for today’s commercial music as well as breaking new ground by pioneering the saxophone-to-MIDI interface.

– International Musician

Of course this isn’t the whole story.
To learn more about Pete Thomas is easy:

Just listen to the music

RECORDING SESSIONS

  • Joe Jackson – Jumping Jive album
  • Joe Jackson – Tucker film soundtrack (A&M)
  • R.E.M. – Fables Of The Reconstruction (IRS)
  • Dave Stewart – Greetings From The Gutter
  • Richard Thompson – Hand of Kindness & Across a Crowded Room (Hannibal)
  • Kim Wilde – Rockin Around the Christmas Tree
  • Cliff Richard and the Young Ones – Living Doll
  • Proclaimers – Hit The Highway (Chrysalis)
  • Elton John – Ice On Fire – (Rocket)
  • Father Father – Album (GoDiscs)
  • Dana Gillespie (3 Albums)
  • Labi Siffri – album (China)
  • Keziah Jones – Bluefunk is a Fact (Virgin)
  • Jimmy Witherspoon – album (Indigo)
  • Vic Goddard – album (Rough Trade)
  • Monochrome Set -album
  • Barrington Levy – single
  • Ruth Rogers Wright Don’t Compromise

TV AND FILM INSTRUMENTAL SESSIONS

  • Tucker – Orchestra leader and soloist (Francis Ford Coppola/George Lucas)
  • Showgirls (Dave Stewart soundtrack)
  • London’s Burning (LWT)
  • Last Pit In The Rhonda Valley – soloist (BBC)
  • Say Hello To The Real Dr. Snide – soloist (C4)
  • Moondial (BBC)
  • Sounds Of Surprise – soloist (C4)
  • Bad Girl (BBC)
  • Coded Hostile – soloist (Granada)
  • Bottom (BBC)

 

 

LIVE

  • Jon Hendricks 1972
  • Neil Sedaka 1973
  • Rolf Harris 1974
  • Three Degrees 1974
  • Rod Argent 1977 UK Tour
  • Bill Haley 1977 European Tour
  • Joe Jackson 1981 U.S. Tour
  • Richard Thompson 1983 U.S. Tour
  • Fats Domino 1991 European Tour
  • Ben Waters
  • Loose Tubes 1991
  • Jimmy Witherspoon 1992 UK Tour

PRODUCTION

  • PJ Harvey – Reeling (Polygram/MTV)
  • PJ Harvey – September Song (Kurt Weill Tribute – Sony Classical)
  • Ray Gelato Giants Of Jive (Ace Records/Nuova Durium)
  • Ruth Allen – The Ruth Allen Songbook (Astor Records)
  • Don’t Stop The Groove – (JVC Victor, Japan)
  • The Saint Theme Remix (Telstar Records)
  • The Vulcans – Diddle I Di Di (Mermaid Records)
  • Big Jay McNeely/Dana Gillespie – Cherry Pie

MD/ARRANGING

  • PJ Harvey (To Bring You My Love – Island) String arrangements
  • Gene (Olympian – Costermonger/Polygram) String Arrangements
  • Gerideau/Adamski (L’Attitude) String Arrangements
  • Richard Berry UK Tour and Radio 1 John Peel session
  • The Spaniels – The Teenagers – Laverne Baker – Johnny Allen – Wembley show
  • Ray Gelato Giants Of Jive – Ace Records/Nuova Durium
  • Ruth Allen – Astor Records

COMPOSITION (TV/FILM)

  • Blue Ice- commissioned source music
  • Best (the Movie) – commissioned source music
  • American Kick Boxer II – score
  • Movies From Hell (BBC2)
  • Another Side Of London (Thames)
  • Signals (Channel 4)
  • The Full Treatment (Thames)
  • S & M (Hat Trick)
  • Bottom (BBC video)
  • Follow The Money -The Fix (BBC2)
  • Flavours Of The Orient (Granada)
  • Barred Love (Channel 4)
  • Blooming Youth (Channel 4)
  • Sex Crime Investigators (Channel 4)
  • Meet The Foxes (Channel 4)
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? (BBC2)
  • Monkey Business (Meridian)
  • Pier On Film 1998 (Meridian)
  • Costa Del Nosh (Carlton Network)

COMMERCIALS (COMPOSITION)

  • Wrigleys Airwaves
  • Mentos
  • First Line Mobile
  • Playstation: Crocs 2
  • Scottish Power
  • Pantene Conditioner
  • Dry Blackthorn Cider
  • Dewars Whiskey
  • Vidal Sassoon Wash And Go
  • Tennents Pilsner
  • Armorall
  • Ambrosia Creamed Rice
  • Thomas’s Treats
  • Holsten Pils
  • Orangina
  • Sunsilk
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Bella Pasta

RADIO (Music Trails)

  • Music Live 95 – BBC Radio 1,2,3 & 4
  • Jazz FM
  • London Radio Services (worldwide sig themes and trails)

FEATURED PRODUCTION MUSIC

  • Top Gear (BBC)
  • Instrument Amnesty (BBC Promo)
  • The Cosby Show
  • Eurotrash (Rapido TV)
  • Barry Norman’s Film Night (Sky Premier)
  • The Tottenham Ayatollah (Channel 4)
  • Pier On Film (Meridian)
  • Under The Moon (Channel 4)
  • Home Front (BBC)
  • Cannes Film Festival(BBC)
  • The Lying Game (Torch Productions)
  • Monkey Business (Meridian)
  • BBC1 Christmas promo music trails
  • Sky TV promo trails

TV APPEARANCES

  • Sting (Later With Jools Holland)
  • Paul Young
  • Joe Jackson (Old Grey Whistle Test)
  • Bill Haley (Royal Variey Show)
  • Robert Cray
  • Richard Thompson (Old Grey Whistle Test)
  • The Bluebells
  • Jimmy Witherspoon
  • Dina Carroll
  • Dana Gillespie (Pebble Mill at One)

 

PERFORMANCE & RECORDING:

Storming sax from top exponent Pete, who benefits both from having the talent to compose a string of blistering numbers and the opportunity to call upon a crack team of supporting musicians…Riveting across all 16 tracks.
– Keith Ames – (Musician Magazine)

Pete Thomas delivers an unabashed , R & B tinged love letter…this is meat and potatoes, served with a hot sauce.
– Clive Davis (Sunday Times review of Mr Lucky)

Thomas plays an impressive growling saxophone that has a humourous, teasing air of menace.
– Mary Ellison (Jazz Express)

Pete Thomas, saxophonist sublime…Thomas’s saxophone playing is something special.
– Richard Mazda (New Hi FiSound)

His first album gives only a brief idea of what he can do but jazz purists cannot sneer at him.You don’t have to look constipated to take a good solo.
– Jack Massarik (The Wire)

Thomas is a demonic player, abrasive and articulate.
– Russell Lack (The Wire)

Pete Thomas is indisputably an accomplished saxophone player and this is beautifully exemplified on the echoey, haunting Raptures.
– Karen Faux (Music Week)

It would be difficult to find a musician more unpretentious and unaffected than Pete Thomas.
– Simon Mills (Girl About Town)

Pete Thomas’s dirty sax rules…
– Lloyd Bradley (Q Magazine)

Someone ought to erect a monument to Pete Thomas for services to rock music. (Before you rave about **** check this guy out for yourself).
Music Magazine

Only when Pete Thomas arrives on stage to blow a few screaming choruses through a tenor which is large enough on him to scuff his shoes do you feel that a kindred spirit may be in the building.
– LaurieTaylor (NewSociety)

(Review of Slim Gaillard at Ronnie Scot

PRODUCTION:

Producer Pete Thomas has done what the Chevaliers could not achieve on vinyl, inducing enough light and shade to create a vibrant and well balanced album.
– P.F. (Time Out)

The arrangements, all by the talented Pete Thomas, make the Giants’ four man front line as full as a big band.
– Jack Massarik (Evening Standard)

Pete Thomas’ razor sharp arranging gives the band a depth and power with its clever lifts.
– Dave Ilic (City Limits)

It’s the type of song that makes you feel like you’re lucky enough to be sitting in a smoky nightclub on an evening when the musicians are locked firmly “in the pocket” and can do no wrong. Pete Thomas’ alto saxophone lead is exceptionally hot.
– Jazz Music Archives (Joe Jackson review)