Reed specialist, arranger and sometimes bandleader Walter Foots Thomas retired from fulltime playing in 1948, then became a professional manager whose specialty could easily have been coaching players on the art of amassing discographies capable of encircling Atlantic City's Trump Plaza. Thomas hailed from Muskogee, Oklahoma, a point of interest in connection with country and western star Merle Haggard's famous lyric, "We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee." Nonetheless, one of Muskogee native Thomas' most famous sideman affiliations was with Cab Calloway of Reefer Man fame.

This artist is the brother of Joe Thomas, also a noted classic jazz reed player who eventually took over the Jimmie Lunceford band. Older than his brother by a year, Walter Thomas began playing with local bands as a college student. He moved to New York City in 1927 and began working with the famed Jelly Roll Morton less than a year later. Thomas joined the The Missourians in 1929 after short stints in bands led by Luis Russell and Joe Steele. The Missourians provided the contact with Calloway, who eventually took over that band.

With and without Calloway, Thomas was involved with this outfit through 1943. Calloway sidemen were said to have received some of the best salaries in jazz, perhaps one reason for loyalty.

Thomas finally began playing with Don Redman by 1944, then led his own band for a bit less than half a decade before moving into management. Firmly associated with swing styles, Thomas made one of his finest recordings near the end of his playing career when combined with the rootsy yet always forward-looking tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Thomas gave saxophone lessons to the

late Jackie McLean, a brilliant bebop and modern jazz alto saxophonist. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi

Walter "Foots" Thomas And His Jump Cats {Blues On The Bayou} 1944,
V09 StrollerChange64
Some Of These Days by Cab Calloway & His Orchestra on Banner 32708-A
I'm Always In The Mood For You by Cab Calloway & His Orchestra on Variety VA 643
The Man From Harlem by Cab Calloway & His Orchestra on Perfect 15825-B
DHS v MCHS 2021 slideshow
Bugle Blues (78rpm Version)
Download SoundHound
The only App that can give you results through singing and humming search!
You can sing any song from this artist to help SoundHound users find it!