"No longer can the seemingly eccentric styles of jazz be dismissed as mere caprice, for its practitioners have succeeded in realizing their own unique and magnetic presence...Thom Jayne and the Unusual Suspects, aptly titled, are poster children for this form of jazz fusion. Not only does this award-winning group employ such unorthodox instruments as the didgeridoo and Native American flute, but with the help of African percussion as well, MSU professor Thom Jayne fashions a fascinating blend of flamenco, Latin Jazz, and Celtic musical traditions" -- Jonas Greenberg, host of the Jazz Spectrum, The Impact 88.9 FM, Lansing, Michigan.
"A fabulous album" -- Dan Bayer, Music for a New Age, WKAR FM, East Lansing.
"Thom Jayne qualifies as a local artist for us but, honestly, I'd play 'The Forgotten Conquest' if it came from Bosnia. Simply, a disc with bite in an often sleepy genre" -- Matt Jerrells, Music Director, WYCE, Grand Rapids
"Very fresh, and fabulous instrumentation" -- Kathleen Monahan, KDM Promotion
Thom Jayne and the Nomads have emerged on the alternative music scene with a hard-to-categorize blend of world music, flamenco, Latin classical, and jazz. His first release, The Forgotten Conquest, has received award-winning recognition in the John Lennon Songwriters Contest, won the 2002 Jammie Award/World Beat category, and was featured on Dan Bayer's "Music for a New Age." Jayne, who plays guitar and digeridoo -- sometimes at the same time -- is part of the Nomads (formerly the 'Free Radicals' until a band in Houston that trademarked the name threatened to sue) featuring:
Rich Illman - trumpet and percussion
Jon Weber - percussion and mbira (thumb piano)
Heather Kulaga - bass
Greg Howe - guitar
Kelly Pond - violin
Greg Sauceda - drums
Their live acts are noted for their upbeat, foot-stomping originals, and their primal renditions of popular tunes like "2001 Space Odyssey" and Miles Davis' "So what".
After performing and recording with the band 'Pariah' on the east coast in the late 1970s, Jayne sold everything, joined the Peace Corps, and moved to the savannah of Ghana in West Africa at 24. Several of the compositions on "The Forgotten Conquest" were conceived during his two-year stay in a small village there. Now a professor at Michigan State University, Jayne travels four times a year to places such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zambia, and is currently collaborating with the Zambian pop star, Ballard Zulu, in a compilation of African beat-flamenco inspired compositions.
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