Positive Knowledge | Oluyemi Thomas | Wilber Morris | Ijeoma Thomas | Michael Wimberly | Live in New York | Edgetone Records

Oluyemi & Ijeoma Thomas of Positive Knowledge has recorded & performed together for the past two decades, composing and sharing their joyful Creative World Music Systems with lovers of music and poetry around the world. Ijeoma Thomas – Wordsmith, spoken word artist, poet vocalist and teacher believes “all art is a gift of the Holy Spirit.” Composer, teacher & multi-reed musician (bass clarinet, saxophones) Oluyemi Thomas brings elements of life and work to the flow & he believes: “The musician’s art is among those arts worthy of the highest praise…” As a great enhancement to their compositional approaches, Positive Knowledge continues to perform throughout the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, Israel, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands which has resulted in a rich multifaceted vocabulary to date. They have recorded or performed with such artists as Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, Alan Silva, Peter Kowald, Henry Kaiser,William Parker, Miya Masaoka & Gino Robair, “Kidd” Edward Jordan. Continue reading

Oluyemi Thomas | Ijeoma Thomas | Michael Bisio | Kenn Thomas | Positive Knowledge – Edgefest Edition | Not Two Records

Oluyemi Thomas – bass, musette, flute, soprano, percussion | Ijeoma Thomas – voice , percussion | Michael Bisio – bass | Kenn Thomas – piano. Compositions by Ijeoma & Oluyemi Thomas (OLUIJEO UNIT MUSIC, ASCAP), Michael Bisio (AMB MUSIC, ASCAP), Kenn Thomas. Recorded by Oluyemi Thomas at Edgefest / Kerrytown Concert House, Ann Arbor, MI, October 15, 2009. Mixed and mastered September 2010 by Rafal Drewniany (DTS Studio). Cover photo by Oluyemi Thomas. Inside photos by Marc Andren. Layout by Andrzej Wojnowski. Continue reading

Oluyemi Thomas | Henry Grimes | The Power Of Light | Not Two Records

It’s widely known that Henry Grimes stopped playing music in 1968 and didn’t touch the bass for nearly 35 years. Since picking up the instrument again four years ago, he has regained the strength and authority that earned him a strong reputation in the first place. His approach and tone put him in league with highly skilled players associated with the instrument. He moved gracefully around the neck, plucking rapidly and producing sounds with a deeply penetrating tone and authority. Half the time, his pizzicato lines came while holding the bow in his hand, ready to launch into some deep blue arco lines at a moment’s notice. The performance marked the first collaboration of Grimes and multi-reedist Oluyemi Thomas, the latter a resident of Oakland, Calif, and a member of the music and poetry unit Positive Knowledge. Mutual artistic respect brought the duo together and the rapport continued throughout their musical exchanges. Thomas switched among bass clarinet, musette, soprano sax and wooden flute. Along the way, he added gongs and shakers, as well as the occasional dance move to drive home a theatrical quality and the enthusiasm of the evening. His soprano playing offered an especially compelling section of the hour-long performance… — Mike Shanley / Jazz Times Continue reading

Oluyemi Thomas | Kenn Thomas | Eugene Wilson IV | Howard Byrdsong | Nigeria | Not Two Records

Encouraged by the recent strong releases on the Polish Not Two label, I took a deeper look in their catalogue and came across this album, led by Oluyemi Thomas on bass clarinet and musette, with Kenn Thomas on piano and synthesizer, Eugene Wilson IV on fretless electric bass and Howard Byrdsong on drums. And this record is unusual, if only because it’s rare to find free jazz albums with both synthesizer and fretless bass. OK, David S. Ware has done experiments with synth and so did Joe McPhee, but the use here is more sparse, more functional, less intrusive. The album is a kind of suite, without pauses between the tracks, reinforcing the very strong musical unity, and an incredible raw poetic power.–Stef Continue reading