To say Ralph Thomas is passionate about his music would be an understatement.
He was born in Chicago, into a musical family. The son of a Black American father and Native American mother, his ethnological roots run very deep and influence his music enormously. His versatility and proficiency are not confined to his principal instruments of saxophone and flute, but span a variety of musical explorations from vibraphone, percussion, and bagpipes, to a myriad of ethnic instruments.
The Early Years
1969: awarded a scholarship to the Chicago Conservatory of Music, where he became a member of the Chicago AACM, studying with Phil Cohran and Richard Muhal Abrams, and recording with Chicago blues legends Howling Wolf and Mighty Joe Young on the Cadet label.
1974: relocated to Los Angeles, where he was signed on by Motown Records and 20th Century Fox. He recorded with celebrated artists Marvin Gaye, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Rick James, while continuing to nurture his own personal style.
1980: recorded and produced his internationally acclaimed album, 'Eastern Standard Time', released on the Zebra Jazz label. It has recently been re-released.
1981: recorded with Quincy Jones Productions on movie soundtracks such as 'Roots' and 'The Color Purple'.
1985: his love of Afro-Caribbean rhythms took him to the Caribbean islands where he toured with various bands and recorded with well known reggae artists Augustus Pablo and Gregory Isaac, capturing the spirit of the island sound.
1986: moved to New York City where he embraced Samba and Salsa, performing with Johnny Colon, Don Cherry, Olatungi and Sun Ra.
1993: relocated to Paris, where he studied Ethnomusicology at the 'Musee d'Homme'. He did a musical tour of Europe with Mra Oma and recorded with Sara Alexandra, Mra Oma, and Ranaivo-Rajaona Hery, as well as performing with Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp, and Trilok Gurtu.
2000: drawn to the roots music of the far east prompted him to apply for the Arts International Award Travel Study, Paris, which took him to Nepal, India and Japan.
2002: started MusArt Project in Paris and toured in the US, Canada and Japan.
2004: moved to the south of France, St. Afrique, where he curated an art gallery, continued MusArt and formed the Ralph Thomas Group.
2003-2007: numerous trips to Asia
2007: relocated to Chiang Mai, Thailand
2007-2010: worked with Issan band Boonhugsa (God bless you). During this period Ralph immersed himself in the music of Northern Thailand, mixing the melodies of the Issan culture with jazz, familiarizing himself and experimenting on many of the traditional instruments.
2012: starts MusArt Project in Chiang Mai. Located in the old city, the gallery is set up as a multimedia interactive creative space, providing a venue for workshops in all areas of the arts, and improv performances monthly.
1969:获得芝加哥音乐学校的奖学金，并于此成为了芝加哥AACM的一员，随Phil Cohran和Richard Muhal Abrams学习，和芝加哥蓝调传奇Howling Wolf与Mighty Joe Young在Cadet Records旗下录制了唱片。
1974:搬到洛杉矶后，他被莫城唱片和20世纪福克斯签下，一边与 Marvin Gaye, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Rick James一同录制唱片，一边继续发展他自己的个人风格。
1980:在斑马爵士厂牌录制并发行了他享誉国际的唱片，’Eastern Standard Time’,最近也被再版。
1981:在电影’Roots’和’The color Purple’中，与Quincy Jones录制原声曲目。
1985:他对加勒比黑人节奏的爱促使他前往加勒比岛与多个乐队巡演，并与知名的雷鬼艺术家Augustus Pablo和Gregory Isaac录制唱片，捕捉岛之声音的灵魂。
1986:搬去纽约，在那儿他与Don Cherry，Sun Ra，Johnny Colon及Babatunde Olatunji演出，并欣然投入桑巴和萨尔萨舞曲的怀抱。
1993:搬去巴黎，在 'Musee d’Homme'学习音乐人类学。随后与Mra Oma在欧洲巡演，并与Sara Alexandra，Mra Oma及Ranaivo-Rajaona Hery录制唱片，与Archie Shepp，Sunny Murray及Trilok Gurtu一同演出。