UNCW’s Upperman Center Explores the N.C. Jazz Connection on Sept. 20
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Jazz, history and culture come to Wilmington in an event co-sponsored by the Upperman African American Cultural Center and the Cape Fear Jazz Society.
Larry Reni Thomas, a veteran jazz writer and radio personality, returns home to Wilmington to promote cultural awareness throughout the community by presenting "The Carolina Jazz Connection" at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 20, in the Upperman African American Cultural Center on the UNCW campus. Thomas will explore the rich, spiritual roots of jazz music in North Carolina history through stories that look at the impact the Wilmington music scene had on jazz.
Thomas was born in the 1950s, when jazz music was "as hot as hip-hop is today," and Wilmington was the place where jazz giants like Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong performed.
A 30-year veteran writer/radio announcer, Thomas earned an M.A. in history from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He began his journalistic career in 1978 assisting Wayne King with a New York Times Magazine article titled "The Case Against the Wilmington Ten." He has worked at seven radio stations and has been published in Downbeat and the New York Times Magazine.
With his vibrant writing style and engaging speaking ability, Thomas' career flourished. He appeared on "The State of Things" with host Frank Stasio on WUNC-FM, Chapel Hill, N.C., and "Metro Watch" with host Gloria Minott on WPFW-FM, Washington, D.C. In 1982, while working as a jazz announcer in Durham, he wrote the linear notes for vocalist Bus Brown's album, The Story Teller. In 2006, he published his second book, Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit, a tale based on events that took place in Wilmington in 1971. Thomas currently is researching The Barn, Wilmington's North Carolina jazz mecca from 1941 to 1945.
Thomas is the founder and project director of Larry Thomas & Associates Inc., a volunteer, non-profit cultural arts organization dedicated to the jazz and Caribbean cultures. He has been active in the International Association for Jazz Education, North Carolina Jazz Network and the Triangle Jazz Society.
For more information on the presentation, please call 910.962.2480.
Media contact: Andrea Weaver, Office of University Relations, email@example.com , 910-962-7631