"I heard the future here and now — in the form of trumpeter Igmar Thomas."
Igmar Thomas is one of New York’s most celebrated musicians, bandleaders, composers and arrangers. Currently touring as the music director for Ms. Lauryn Hill and Nas, Igmar Thomas has been an integral part of countless influential and inspiring musical projects. Thomas attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, which led to the formation of his group, Igmar Thomas & The Cypher, as well as musical connections to peers and legends alike such as Esperanza Spalding (Thomas served as lead trumpeter on Spalding's Radio Music Society International Tour), Terri Lyne Carrington, Lionel Hampton, Wyclef Jean, Mos Def, Robert Glasper and countless others. In addition to his work with The Cypher, Thomas is the conductor of the Revive Big Band, which Complex Magazine has deemed "a 19-piece jazz army."
Contemporary music, for Igmar Thomas, is not separate from jazz, but the vibrant result of the natural evolution of improvised American music. Both The Cypher and the Revive Big Band play music that is deeply rooted in the present. Thomas orchestrates classic songs & samples for live instrumentation and performs with emcees, whom he calls the “mainstream hornmen of today.” With jazz as its foundation and springboard, The Revive Big Band has featured a range of artists including Gregory Porter, Bilal, Terence Blanchard, Savion Glover, Oliver Lake, Esperanza Spalding, Sean Jones, Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Pharoahe Monch, Robert Glasper, Jean Baylor, Chris Turner and DJ Premier.
It is no surprise that Thomas’ gift has taken him far and wide to hallowed musical venues like Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Central Park SummerStage, Harlem Stage, the Apollo Theater and The House of Blues. Igmar Thomas has appeared in musical performances at major events such as the NBA All Star Game Weekend, as well as on various television programs including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with the Tedeschi (Derek) Trucks Band, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central with Zach Galifianakis, and PBS for Austin City Limits, the Jools Holland Show in the UK, Arte TV all throughout Europe and several music videos that have aired on MTV, BET and more.
Thomas has created big band arrangements for Bilal, Gregory Porter, Pharoahe Monch and Dr. Lonnie Smith. He has also created horn arrangements for Talib Kweli and appeared as a guest with performers including J. Cole, The Roy Hargrove Big Band, The Roots', and a host of other celebrated artists and groups. He has also worked and/or recorded with Mos Def, Wyclef Jean, John Legend, actor/singer Terrence Howard, Raekwon of Wu-Tang, Pete Rock, Macy Gray and many more. Thomas was the inaugural recipient of the annual Roy Campbell Jr. Commission, awarded to an up and coming trumpeter/composer/bandleader as part of the 2014 Festival of New Trumpet (FONT).