Keyboardist Tony Thomas, bassist Sam Shoup, and
drummer Tom Lonardo have been playing together
since 1979. Acclaimed in the Memphis area for their
original and highly innovative jazz compositions, the
Tony Thomas Trio also garnered a degree of worldwide fame in
a previous incarnation: the Dog Police. Their recording and
video of the same name was an MTV sensation in the 1980s.
The trio, both individually and as a unit, are among
the most esteemed musicians and in-demand
session players in the south. They’ve performed with
Diahann Carroll, Mose Allison, The Duke Ellington
Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton
Marsalis, Richard “Groove” Holmes, The Memphis
Symphony, The New York Pops Orchestra (for which
bassist Sam Shoup is a staff arranger), and on
literally thousands of commercial music jingles.
Their newest album together, Progreso, their second
all-original jazz release, finds the three working in an
easygoing swing setting that compares to classic Bill
Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Ahmad Jamal.
Despite the banner, this is a group effort, with all the
players contributing compositions that range from the
film noir atmospherics of “Melodious Funk” to the
New Orleans-flavored groove of “Slide-L.”