Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Thomas, Carei (Frank)

Thomas, Carei (Frank),. pianist, composer; b. Pittsburgh, PA, 23 July 1938. 

In Pittsburgh, Carei started taking piano lessons at the age of nine from Eleanor Lesesne. In his teen years, Carei and his family (father, Frank Nebraska, b. 1906, d. 1989; mother, Mary Majesta, b. 1916) moved to Chicago, Illinois. Thomas served in the Army from December, 1961 to December, 1963, 18 months of this stationed in Germany. In Chicago in the 1960's Carei received mentoring from Melvin Peterson, Kalaparush Ahrah Difda (a/k/ Maurice McIntyre), Donald Garrett and Steve McCall. It was also in Chicago where he attended Roosevelt University from 1959-61 and learned more about music theory at the Chicago Musical College from 1964-66. During these years, he formed friendships with many of the AACM members, worked on community social issues, completed a wall mural, and began realizing his artistic gifts.

In 1972, Thomas moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife (Carol LaPierre, divorced in 1980; three children, Joi, Jaahred, and Aairam). Carei's second marriage was to Kathleen Hoerr in 1981; divorced in 1989. Carei married Joyce Heuer Thomas in 1994. In the Twin Cities, Carei F. Thomas has been associated for a number of years with the literary, visual arts, dance, music, recovery, neighborhood, and Buddhist communities of the Twin Cities. He is known throughout the arts community for his spiritual energy, interdisciplinary vision, and creative music. He attended the University of Minnesota from 1972-75 studying Music Education/Music Therapy.

In 1993, Carei encountered a paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This condition did not stop him. He continues to compose, perform, and work in the community. Carei Thomas is a member of the American Composers Forum and is on the Boards of (1) the West Bank School of Music in Minneapolis and (2) the High School for Recording Arts (HSRA) in St. Paul. Thomas has a special interest in the healing aspects of sound and color and has worked in the public school system, utilizing art as a tool to enhance educational curriculum.

Carei continues to seek venues of varying size and design to explore experimental musical performances which he calls "Unusual Designs, Atypical Settings." He is also continuing to develop his poemmetric/spoken word, electronic soundscape designs, and graphic compositions.

Neighborhood Ensemble: Sky (1997) Windfall:  Once In A Lifetime (1999); Feel Free Ensemble: Mining Our Bid'ness (2002)
Unissued recordings:
Approximately 40 hours of unissued private tapes recorded between 1972 and 2003.
Radio broadcasts:
Several interviews on KFAI Radio (Mpls.) from 1975 to 2003; KBEM Radio:  (Mpls.) 2001.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages, Southside Pride, Pulse of the Twin Cities, Skyway News, NEA Newsletter, The Wire Magazine, The Macalester Weekly,
Cadence Magazine, One Final Note, and Jazz Weekly.

Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (2003); McKnight Interdisciplinary Artist Fellowship (2002); Musser New Music Series (2001); State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant (2000);
McKnight Composers Fellowship (1999); VSA - Arts of Minnesota Artist Recognition Grant (1999); Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhood Programs (St. Paul Companies LIN grant) (1998); American Composers Commissioning Program (1997); Landmark New Music Series (1997); Minnesota Music Award (1994); West Bank School of Music Composers Series Gant (1993);
Bush Artist Fellowship for Music Composition (1993); Diverse Visions Grant, Intermedia Arts (1993); Diverse Visions Grant, Intermedia Arts (1990);
West Bank School of Music Composers Series Grant (1989); Jazz Music Awards Special Tribute, Best Piano, Avant Garde Category (1988).
Commissions (partial listing):
For Hymn: Dedicated to the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. n Jazz Axiom X, (2003); Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota., Mpls. Keys, Please! II (2003);
Trio for Three Pianos (co-composed), Macalester College, St. Paul. Fragrances (2003);  Kitty Cat Klub, Mpls. Cartoons Out Of Monk (2002);
Dakota Bar & Grill, Feel Free Group, St. Paul. . . . But Not Yet (2002); Minneapolis College of Art & Design, Mpls. Strange Attractors VIII (2002);
The Deep Narratives Video Band with Fred Ho, St. Paul. Keys, Please! I (2002); Trio for Three Pianos (co-composed), Macalester College, St. Paul. Seen, Too (2002);
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Mpls. With Respect to . . . Musical Comments and Reflections on the Work of Kandinsky, (2002);
The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Mpls. Brilliant Field(s)/Sound Tempo(s) (2001); Musser New Music, Landmark Center, St. Paul. Sound Windows III (1997);
Capitol New Year, McKnight Theatre at the Ordway, St. Paul. Sound Windows II (1997);  With the Macalester College New Music Ensemble, St. Paul. Sound Windows I (1997);
Landmark Center, St. Paul. Life Lights Exult/Heaven Scent (1993); Walker Arts Center, Mpls. Fragrance II; A Fragrance of Distant Sundays and Fragrance IV; That Poignant Scent of Will (1993):  Culture Calls, Southern Theatre, Mpls. Slymn Hymn (1992);  A handbell choir Commission, Corn Palace Showcase, Mpls. Mysticmaestromentor (1992); 
Preferable Percussions Space, Mpls. The Reconstruction of Light (1990);  For chamber ensemble, Town Square Park, St. Paul. Ghetto Rising/Leftovers (1990); 
Jazz ensemble with rap vocalist, Walker Church, Mpls. Alwhere; The Everpresent Celebration (1990);
IMP ORK (Improvisational Orchestra), Walker Arts Center, featuring Julius Hemphill on alto sax, Mpls. Several Brief Realities (1989);
Minnesota Composers Forum, St. Paul. Spring Air Shelter II (1989); For chamber ensemble, Walker Community Church, Mpls. Spring Air Shelter I (1989);
For the Macalester College Jazz Big Band, St. Paul. Bopp Nouveau (1988); Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Mpls. Dream for Times Out of Mind (1988);
Patrick's Monthly Cabaret, Mpls. La Fenetre Tres (1988);  Sextet - "Dix Reflechi" (10 studies), Walker Church. Mpls. A Gift of Pages Bent (1987);
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Mpls. With Respect To . . . Musical reflections and comments on the work of Joan Miro, Ferdnand Leger, Emil Nolde and Wassily Kandinsky (1986);
Mpls. The Macalester College Big Band, St. Paul, performed five of his compositions; Paradigm III New Colors Coming (5/6/86); Polyester and GI-GO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) (5/10/84);
Paradigm I and Anthem (1/27/83).

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