Joe Thomas (tenor saxophonist)
As a boy Thomas first learned to play hymns on his sax, it was the only music his parents approved of. His first band job was with the Earl Hood Orchestra. After eight months Horace Henderson offered him a job.
Thomas played alto sax under Horace Henderson, but played tenor from the time he joined Stuff Smith's band onward. He played with Jimmie Lunceford's band from 1933 until Lunceford's death in 1947, where he soloed often and occasionally sang. After Lunceford died, Thomas and Ed Wilcox co-led his ghost band for a year.
Thomas played R&B in the early 1950s, but left the music industry to work in the family undertaking business in the middle of the 1950s. In the 1960s he started playing again occasionally, and recorded again under his own name in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
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With Buddy Terry
- Natural Soul (Prestige, 1968)
- Curtis, Constance; Herndon, Cholie (April 30, 1949). "Know your Boroughs Orchestra Men Talk About Show Business". The New York Amsterdam News. p. 15.
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