Born in 1970, Jens Thomas grew up with rock music before discovering jazz and studying with Dieter Glawischnig at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg.
However, despite forming the band Triocolor in 1993, he had achieved only modest success until his first solo album, "Endlich allein," received enthusiastic praise from Michael Naura in 1999. This, in turn, caught the attention of ACT boss Siggi Loch.
At Loch's suggestion, Thomas, together with Paolo Fresu and Antonello Salis, interpreted compositions by the great Ennio Morricone in a surprisingly new and distinctive way. The album "You Can't Keep A Good Cowboy Down," released in January 2000, was a sensation.
Critics raved about it. Even more successful was the album "Shadows In The Rain," recorded in a duo with saxophonist Christof Lauer and featuring guest artists, which explored songs by Sting. It was named "Album of the Year" across Europe, from French Jazzman to British Jazzwise, and received the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics in Germany.
If you add the still highly acclaimed duet album "Pure Joy" by Thomas and Lauer from 2003, Jens Thomas, in just over three years, received "more awards and accolades than any other German jazz musician, except for Albert Mangelsdorff," as noted by Ulrich Olshausen in FAZ.
However, Jens Thomas, who celebrated all these successes precisely because of his uncompromising search for new paths and constantly changing perspectives, cared little for appearances. Musically, he was drawn to something different, and he left ACT for a theater interlude.
He accompanied the Munich Kammerspiele production of "Othello" as a singer and improviser on the piano.
In 2011, Thomas made an extraordinary comeback at ACT with "Speed Of Grace," a tribute to the music of Australian hard rockers AC/DC. However, it's not loud and rocky; instead, it's balladic and intimate.
He reinterprets songs like "Highway To Hell" or "The Jack" in a completely different way, turning hard rock into lyrical chamber music, creating deeply dimmed, impressionistic, and entirely improvised ballads.
Jens Thomas also surprises as an exceptional singer, and on seven tracks, the Nordic-lyric Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola joins Thomas on his somewhat different rock 'n' roll train.